Berkeley High claimed their first victory Friday night, besting rival De Anza 46-27. Berkeley relied upon a potent rushing attack, gaining 306 yards on the ground to De Anza’s 119. Senior running back Ramone Reed led the charge, rushing for two touchdowns and 142 yards on 18 carries, and throwing for one touchdown in the rout.
The game began on an inauspicious note for the YellowJackets when quarterback Nitoto Muhammed threw an interception on its opening drive, one of the three Berkeley turnovers on the night. But the Dons couldn’t score, and the ‘Jackets regrouped quickly, marching 60 and 51 yards on consecutive drives behind powerful blocking to take a 14-0 lead.
Reed and fellow running backs Joey Terry-Jones and Germey Baird led the Berkeley drives, barreling into, scampering around, and seeping through a porous De Anza defensive line. Terry-Jones rushed for a bruising 71 yards on nine carries, while Baird carried the ball 12 times for 58 yards.
Senior wide receiver Chavallier Patterson praised the play of his running backs and offensive line after the game, saying, “They just couldn’t stop our running game. We ran well tonight, and it opened things up for the rest of us.”
With 2:04 remaining in the first quarter, De Anza responded to the YellowJacket offensive. After a Berkeley kickoff left them with a first-and-10 on their own 37-yard line, quarterback Anthony Baisley lofted a pass 33 yards downfield to wide receiver Jonny Johnson. Reed (also a defensive back) leaped with Baisley to try to intercept the pass. The ball was tipped twice, and when it finally fell into Baisley’s hands he had an open field to the endzone. A few seconds later, the score was 14-7.
Starting at their own 30-yard line, Berkeley began a four-minute, 10-play, 70-yard march to paydirt. Sticking with what had been successful, they ran the ball every down but one, relying upon the churning legs of Reed, Baird and Terry-Jones to carry them into the endzone. The strategy worked, and the brutal ‘Jacket rushing game ground the Dons deep into the their own territory, where Muhammed scored on a quarterback draw to give the ‘Jackets a 20-7 lead with 9:58 remaining in the half.
The game remained in doubt until late in the third quarter, when Berkeley junior Anthony Lee Franklin broke it open. Leading 27-13 with 3:37 remaining in the third quarter, Franklin caught a De Anza punt at his own 37, eluded two tacklers, and sprinted up the right sideline. With a cutback to the middle of the field, Franklin scored, giving the ‘Jackets a commanding 33-19 lead.
Although De Anza scored once more, Berkeley answered back with a touchdown, and the victory was never again in serious jeopardy.
Reed iced the Berkeley victory with a final 28-yard sprint to the goal line, scoring his second touchdown of game and giving Berkeley a their first win of the season.
Berkeley advances to 1-4 (1-0 ACCAL) and travels to Encinal Friday for a 7 p.m. game.