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Jackets slam Encinal

By Jared Green
Saturday October 12, 2002

The Berkeley High Yellowjackets continued to run roughshod over their opposition on Friday, using a 48-point first half to propel them to a 57-0 win over Encinal High. 

Berkeley wide receiver Sean Young had 244 total yards and three touchdowns, while tailback Craig Hollis ran for 116 yards and a touchdown in the rout. Encinal (0-5 overall, 0-2 ACCAL) gained just 144 yards on offense, while Berkeley (5-0, 2-0) racked up 356 in the first half alone. The Jackets gained only 121 yards in the second half thanks to a running clock that reduced the number of plays that were run. 

The Jackets forced seven turnovers in the game, including five interceptions of Encinal quarterback Drew Dozier, who was constantly throwing on the run. Middle linebacker Owen Goldstrom and safety Chris Watson each had two picks, with Goldstrom’s coming in the span of six plays on nearly identical routes. 

“We got some real easy interceptions because of our defensive line,” Watson said. “They kept hitting the quarterback and making him throw the ball up for grabs.” 

Indeed, Dozier was constantly under heat, with Berkeley defensive end Robert Hunter-Ford recording two sacks. Hunter-Ford also got a second-quarter blindside hit on Dozier that forced the ball to pop out right to Emeka Echebelu, who ran 34 yards untouched into the end zone. That play came just after Goldstrom’s interceptions, the first of which he ran back for an apparent score, only to be called back on a clipping penalty. 

Berkeley needed just two offensive plays to score their first touchdown. After Hollis ran a sweep for 15 yards, Young took the ball on an end-around and raced 50 yards for the first touchdown of the game. Young was explosive on Friday, running the ball three times for 116 yards in the first half, including a 44-yard touchdown, and catching two passes for 89 yards. Young’s second catch was a simple slant play with 30 seconds left in the first half, but the lightning-quick receiver split the safeties and went 66 yards for a touchdown. 

“Sean’s speed was devastating today,” Berkeley head coach Matt Bissell said. “He’s become an integral part of the offense.” 

Berkeley quarterback Dessalines Gant completed just two other passes before giving way to Jeff Spellman in the second half. Gant’s numbers were unspectacular, as he completed 4-of-10 passes for 139 yards, but his accuracy and control over the offense were greatly improved since his first start a week ago. It looks as if the Jackets’ quarterback controversy is over, at least for now, as Spellman didn’t throw a pass in the second half. 

“Dez has looked really good,” Bissell said. “We’ll give him the nod next week.” 

Berkeley had only two mishaps against the overmatched Jets. On a pitch play in the first half, Encinal lineman Jason Walker knifed through the line and picked off the pitch, returning it to the Berkeley 25-yard line. But Goldstrom made his second interception shortly afterward to snuff Encinal’s best scoring chance. 

Berkeley’s second turnover was cause for some laughter on the Jacket sideline. On an Encinal third-and-long late in the third quarter, the Berkeley coaches sniffed out a screen pass and dropped massive defensive tackle Jamal Johnson-Lucas back into coverage. Dozier tossed the ball right into Johnson-Lucas’ hands, not surprisingly the 300-pounder’s first career interception. Johnson-Lucas kicked it into high gear, trucking over an Encinal defender while lumbering toward the end zone. But diminutive Encinal running back Gary Mason hit him from behind and knocked the ball loose, with the Jets recovering for a very strange first down. 

“I just broke down and tried to score,” Johnson-Lucas said. “I wasn’t paying attention to the people behind me.” 

After the game Johnson-Lucas’ teammates made sure to find Mason and pat him on the back for having the courage to go up against a player who outweighs him by 180 pounds. Johnson-Lucas will surely hear about his fumble during the next week of practice. 

Berkeley will face ACCAL newcomer Hercules next Friday. The game will be played at Hercules High, with kickoff scheduled for 7 p.m. 

Notes: Berkeley’s junior varsity fell to Encinal, 12-0.