Outmatched and overrun, Berkeley High suffered an ignominious 52-27 defeat at James Logan High last Friday night. In a game determined by big plays, the Yellow Jacket offense ran out of firepower after stinging the Colt offense for two early touchdowns. By contrast, Logan appeared crisp and efficient for the entire game running coach Neal Fromson’s "fly" option offense, and dissembled the blitzing Berkeley defense seemingly at will.
Behind 7-0 late in the first quarter, Berkeley fumbled deep in their own territory, leaving Logan with a first and goal on the eight-yard line. Typifying the sloppy play of the evening, Logan gave Berkeley the ball back with a fumble of its own on the next play. Berkeley quarterback Leon Ireland promptly responded with a 90-yard bomb to junior wide receiver Anthony Franklin. After a blocked extra point attempt, Logan’s lead was cut to 7-6.
Berkeley’s only other touchdown against Logan’s starting defense came with 8:12 left in the second quarter. Facing a first and 15 on their own 12-yard line after a false start penalty, the Yellow Jackets handed the ball to senior running back Ramon Reed. Displaying the explosive speed that promises to give opposing coaches headaches, Reed burst through the line and out-sprinted a very quick Logan defense in a 88-yard dash to the endzone. The Yellow Jackets elected to attempt a two-point conversion and took their only lead of the game with a quick pitch to junior running back Germey Baird. With 8:12 remaining in the first half, Berkeley lead 14-13.
Coach Fromson reflected on his defense’s early vulnerability to big plays, saying: "We don’t give up 90-yard plays... I couldn’t tell you the last time my starters gave up two 90-yard touchdowns. We need to shore that up. But that’s okay, that’s what the preseason is for."
Substituting freely, as he did all evening, Fromson sent in what was essentially his second string for the next series. The substitute Colts responded to the ‘Jacket challenge with their own big play. Senior Julio Lima took a handoff near midfield, broke two tackles, and raced down the sideline to regain a Colt lead that was never again relinquished. The ‘Jackets found themselves staring at a 21-14 deficit with 6:58 remaining in the first half.
Berkeley crumbled on their next three possessions, being forced to punt once and giving up a fumble and an interception. Logan had no such difficulties, and tacked two touchdowns onto their lead, including an incredible 36-yard touchdown run by junior running back Rodney Roy. Dodging two tackles on a sweep right, Roy cut back and darted down the left sideline. Avoiding a third tackle, Roy vaulted into the endzone, bringing the final efforts of two Yellowjacket defenders with him. After another two-point conversion, Logan brought a 35-14 half-time lead into the locker room.
From the ‘Jacket perspective, the second half can only be described as ugly. Unable to read Logan’s deceptive ‘fly’ offense, the aggressive Berkeley defense gave up two touchdowns in the third quarter and two more in the fourth. Berkeley’s offense fared no better, hindered by penalties and tiring against Logan’s endless succession of fresh defensive players. When Logan’s third string entered the game with 4:10 left in the third quarter, the Yellow Jackets were able to muster the 77-yard, fifteen-play scoring drive that they had desperately needed at the beginning of the half. Down 45-20 with 9:16 remaining in the fourth quarter, it was simply a case of too little, too late.
Berkeley was able to respond to Logan’s final touchdown with a last-gasp effort of their own, ending the game with an almost-respectable 52-27 final score. However, the score and the 154-yard, 3 touchdown effort by Reed not withstanding, the game was never as close as the numbers may indicate.
Logan advanced its record to 2-0, while Berkeley falls to 0-2. The Yellow Jackets host Dos Palos this Friday at 7 p.m.