“We feel like we definitely match up better with the remainder of the teams on our schedule,” Berwick head coach Craig Brodie said. “We just have to continue to work hard and we can be in the mix.”
Berwick (0-5, 0-2) was overwhelmed last week by second-ranked Patterson, losing 59-7.
“Patterson is one of the best teams in the state and by far the best team in our district,” the first-year coach said. “But I think everyone else is pretty evenly matched.”
The Panthers have to keep turnovers down if they want to get into the district race. Patterson forced four Berwick turnovers last week, resulting in 21 points.
“Turnovers have hurt us all season,” Brodie said. “We play a lot of freshmen and sophomores who have been learning on the job but they have been playing two games a week. I see progress.”
Quarterback Reed Leonard leads the Panthers’ offense. He has completed 19-of-68 passes for 234 yards and three scores but he has thrown nine interceptions.
“Reed can make some plays back there if we can protect him,” Brodie said. “We have struggled against big physical defenses but we should match up better going forward.”
Berwick has some strong runners on the offense including Leonard. Raheem Colar, Lucas Loya and Josh Engleton are all capable backs. Engleton has carried 13 times for 79 yards while Loya has chipped in with 33 yards on the ground.
Engleton also has nearly 100 yards receiving while Brad Lemoine is a big-play threat with three catches for 106 yards and two scores.
North Vermilion (2-3, 1-1) comes into today’s game on a high; the Patriots beat Franklin, 37-20, last week at home.
NV running back Jeremy James put the Patriots up early and for good when he scored on 6-yard and 30-yard touchdown runs in the first quarter. James scored another rushing touchdown in the second period, this time from 7 yards out, and NV place kicker Trey Broussard hit a 37-yard field goal to give the Pats a 23-12 lead at the half.
Broussard, a sophomore, has been a big weapon for NV this season.
“He has a big leg,” North Vermilion head coach Tommy Byler said. “He doesn’t allow any special teams returns and he is a threat late in ball games.”
Broussard made a 47-yard field goal against Patterson a couple weeks ago with room to spare. He has scored the only points against the ’Jacks’ first-team defense this season.
Junior quarterback Joe Duhon leads the Pats offense. He has completed 24-of-75 passes for 247 yards with four touchdowns and a pick. He was 5-for-13 passing for 107 yards and a TD last week against Franklin.
But NV’s bread and butter is the ground game. James is the leading rusher with 64 carries for 268 yards. He led all rushers with 73 yards on eight carries last Friday and he also had two catches for 72 yards.
Tim Baudoin has 26 carries for 118 yards while Broussard has 70 yards on 21 carries and Duhon has 124 rushing yards.
Berwick is ranked third defensively in the district while NV is sixth.
Patterson standout running back Trevon Stewart had 202 yards rushing in the ’Jacks 35-11 win over NV; but the Pats allow about 130 yards per game on average.
“We have to play hard and hopefully some things will go our way and build some confidence,” Brodie said. “All I ask is their best effort.”