BERWICK – The Berwick Panthers lit up the scoreboard on Friday night in a 49-28 nondistrict victory over South Terrebonne.
But even with Panthers quarterback Mitchell Sanford throwing for 224 yards and five touchdowns, Berwick (3-0 overall) still wasn’t able to put the Gators away until the fourth quarter as South Terrebonne (1-2 overall) closed the game to 35-28 as late as the third quarter.
Turnovers and missed opportunities ultimately proved costly for the Gators on a night when their offense couldn’t afford to fall further behind a red-hot Sanford and the Panthers’ passing attack.
South Terrebonne got a pair of touchdowns in the first quarter, the first on a 6-yard touchdown run from Logan Melancon, and later a 65-yard touchdown catch and run by Johnathan Smith to match Berwick stride for stride on the Panthers’ first two scores and make it 14-all in the first quarter.
Terrance Sims added another big play for the Gators’ offense in the second quarter when he took a handoff and went 69 yards to the end-zone to tie the game at 21-all following an extra point.
But the Gators wouldn’t be able to keep up much longer.
After cutting the lead to seven in the third quarter at 35-28 on a 6-yard touchdown run from Donald Dardar, the Panthers would find the end zone twice in the fourth quarter to win going away.
Berwick outgained the Gators in total offense, 519-377.
“We fought but we just made some crucial mistakes there in the first half and the second half that we just could never overcome,” Gators offensive coordinator Stephen Barba said. “We could never take the lead and were always playing catch-up. But it was a tight game for three quarters and their receiver (LSU commitment Kenan Jones) is really good. They have two other guys that are really good, too. Offensively, we had some turnovers. We had the ball at midfield a couple of times with a chance to make the lead and we made some mental mistakes and it just cost us.”
Blanchard was 4-of-12 for 112 yards passing for South Terrebonne, and Sims led the Gators’ rushing attack with 127 yards on 15 carries.