Berryville gets first conference victory since 2013
BERRYVILLE -- There has not been much to celebrate about when it comes to Berryville football during the last few years. Friday night's 52-44 home victory over the Gentry Pioneers was reason for celebration, however. The win marked Berryville's first conference win since 2013.
"That was a big win," Berryville coach Austin Winters said. "The kids played hard. They played to the last whistle and that's what we want."
In a game in which the two teams combined for 862 yards of total offense, it was the final 10 yards for Berryville that were the most important. Leading 52-44 and facing a fourth and seven from the Lincoln 35 with 1:17 remaining, Winters elected to go for it. Quarterback Luke Britt handed off to Jacob Graham, who carried the ball along the left side for 10 yards and the game-clinching first down.
"We knew if we got a first down then that was it," Winters said. "We went with it. He got it and the rest is history."
Gentry quarterback Jon Faulkenberry finished with 349 total yards and accounted for all of the Pioneers' touchdowns, while Graham finished with 145 yards rushing and caught two passes for 82 yards.
The scoring started right away for both teams. Britt threw a 48-yard touchdown pass to Wyatt Poe on the second play from scrimmage, giving Berryville a 6-0 lead. Gentry started its next possession in Berryville territory and Faulkenberry scored on a quarterback sneak from a yard out. The extra point gave Gentry a 7-6 lead midway through the first quarter.
Berryville responded on its next possession, going 60 yards in 3:30. Graham's run from nine yards out gave Berryville a 12-7 lead. Graham converted the two-point conversion to make it 14-7. Faulkenberry and the Pioneers responded. A 34-yard touchdown pass to Cole Cripps and a two-point conversion gave Gentry a 15-14 lead with 1:54 remaining in the first half.
"They would score and then we would answer back and then we would hold them," Winters said. "It was big for us to keep playing."
After Berryville was forced to punt, Poe intercepted a Faulkenberry pass at midfield with 7:45 left in the second quarter. Gaven Maxwell had six carries for 29 yards on the ensuing drive -- including a 3-yard touchdown run. Maxwell converted the two-point conversion to give the Bobcats a 22-15 lead with 4:26 remaining before halftime. Gentry took 4:01 off the clock and Faulkenberry scored from a yard out, tying the game at 22 going into halftime.
"We had our assignments down, but we had busted plays here and there," Winters said. "We are going to have to go back and look at those things."
Gentry was forced to punt to start the second half and the Bobcats took advantage. Maxwell carried for nine yards on first down and Graham rushed for a 68-yard touchdown on the next play, giving the Bobcats a 28-22 lead with 9:02 left in the third quarter.
The crafty Faulkenberry answered for Gentry again, this time with a 51-yard touchdown run. The extra point gave Gentry a 29-28 lead midway through the third quarter.
Charlie Archer broke through for a 29-yard run for Berryville on the next possession, but it was Maxwell who continued the heavy lifting for the Bobcats. This time, Maxwell scored from 14 yards out. Archer converted the two-point conversion, giving the Bobcats a 36-29 lead with 2:40 to go in the third quarter.
"It was a total team effort out there," Winters said. "Everybody stepped up out there and played hard."
Faulkenberry worked his magic again, though. Facing a third and nine, he scored from 39 yards out, tying the game at 36 with a minute remaining in the third quarter.
On the final play of the quarter, Britt completed an 81-yard touchdown pass to Graham. Justin Bredeson converted the two-point conversion. Archer recovered the ensuing pooch kick, but a Cripps interception at the Bobcat 12 abruptly ended the drive. While the Bobcat defense had given up many big plays to Faulkenberry, it stopped him at a crucial time. Gentry was forced to punt after going three and out.
"There were times when he was running more free than we would want," Winters said. "He is a great athlete and he was making plays, but when it mattered, we got him."
Berryville got the ball back at the Gentry 37 with 7:31 on the clock. The Bobcats worked their way inside the red zone and Britt scored from four yards out. Bredeson converted the two-point conversion to give Berryville a 52-36 lead with 3:57 left in the game. Faulkenberry scored the final touchdown of the game, but it wasn't enough as Berryville hung on for the victory.
"This was a big conference win and now it's on to Lincoln," Winters said. "It's still one game at a time. That's what we want and we want to build on this."
Britt completed 3 of 5 passes for 136 yards, while Graham had 145 yards rushing and Maxwell finished with 92. Archer had 15 tackles, while Andrew Scroggins had 13. Robert Allen and Bredeson each had eight tackles.
On Friday, Berryville travels to Lincoln.