New Dulaney football coach Daron Reid likes to see the ball in the hands of Lion junior quarterback Gary Bernardez, and the longer he has it, the better his team will be.
That was certainly the case Friday, on homecoming night at Lansdowne High, as the signal-caller ran for three touchdowns and passed for two more in a 49-6 triumph.
Both teams came into the game winless after three outings each, and they were beaten by a combined score of 281-13.
“It (victory) tastes good,” said Bernardez, who rushed for 170 yards on 11 carries for the 1-3 Lions. "Coach always preaches to come out strong and play physical and finish it off.”
He finished off the Lions first drive with a 44-yard touchdown run and Kyle Sundstrom’s extra-point made it 7-0.
Lansdowne (0-4) answered with a strong drive of its own.
A 23-yard run by Justin Fish (6 carries, 42 yards) and 36-yard pass completion from quarterback Frank Jankiewicz to Kenard Robinson moved the ball into Lion territory.
A nine-yard first down run by Edrick Mallard (19 carries, 80 yards) pushed the ball to the Lion four on first and goal, as the Viking offensive line of center Brian Voyce, guards William Halstead and Devlin Dixon and tackles Richard Westcott and Kevin Williams led the charge.
But, Dulaney defensive tackle Andrew Wall and safety Omari Hunt stuffed the first-down play from the four and the Vikings netted minus one yard on the next two plays, before Dulaney’s Richard McBride broke up a pass in the end zone and the Vikings turned it over on downs.
“That’s progress,” Lansdowne coach Mark Junker said. “We can move the ball a little bit, but we’ve got to finish the plays.”
Dulaney answered with a 15-play, 95-yard drive that culminated in an 11-yard scoring strike from Barneardez to tight end Aaron Sless for a 14-0 lead.
The key play was a 16-yard run by Barneardez on fourth and two from the Viking 21.
On the first play after a Viking punt, Barneardez raced 45 yards to the one and Raynard McCarnie punched it in and the Lions led 21-0.
Lansdowne responded with its best drive of the night.
They went 62 yards on 14 plays with Mallard scoring from 25 yards out on an inside double reverse on fourth and 10.
Mallard took the second handoff from Maurice Mattocks and raced untouched into the end zone with 1:34 left in the half.
“He made a real nice play on that 25-yard run,” Junker said.
The extra-point conversion failed and the Vikings trailed 21-6, but they instantly lost momentum when the Lions scored three plays later.
A 39-yard pass from Bernardez to Kevin Cockerham set up Bernardez's touchdown sneak.
A conversion pass to Cockerham made it 29-6 at halftime.
Bernardez completed 12-of-16 passes for 171 yards and two touchdowns in the contest.
“As a quarterback, you’ve got to be willing to take it on your shoulders, especially in our offense,” Dulaney coach Reid said. “He has faith in his teammates as well.”
Dulaney’s defense also enjoyed first-half sacks from McBride, Cockerham and Tommy Petinelli.
For the third time in the game, the Vikings penetrated inside the Lion 25-yard line, as they moved the ball 47 yards on the first drive of the second half.
A 26-yard completion from Jankiewicz to Mattocks was the biggest gain on the drive that stalled after a fourth-down incompletion at the Lion 23.
Lansdowne’s offense never threatened again and the Lions tacked on a touchdown run by Bernardez (28 yards), TD reception by Kia Johnson (30 yards) and touchdown plunge by Nick Koger (1 yard) on the last play of the game.
Using a no-huddle, shotgun offense, Dulaney rushed for 203 yards and passed for 171 more behind a line that included center Wall, guards Chris Buongasnore and Petinelli and tackles Quinn Conory and Blaik Thompson.
Coach Reid is excited to see the progress and noticed it in the previous week’s 40-0 loss to Kenwood.
“Last week was a big improvement, even though it was a shutout, but we played better as a team,” he said. “We missed less tackles. We missed less blocks and that was awesome to see, so we just kept the momentum going and it carried over today.”
Lansdowne’s Junker is hoping to build some momentum.
“We are going to work to get better and hopefully next week we are going to be more competitive,” he said.