Berwick High School quarterback Mitchell Sanford, top, and Josh Carver, above, played an integral role in the Panthers' 52-34 upset victory against Class 3A's ninth-ranked squad, Northwest High School, Friday in Berwick. Sanford accounted for 600 yards, completing 23 of 42 passes for 557 yards passing and seven touchdowns with one interception. He also rushed for 43 yards. Carver caught 11 passes for 306 yards and four scores. (The Daily Review/Photos by Geoff Stoute)
Sanford, Carver lead Berwick past Northwest Raiders
Behind more than 600 yards of total offense, including 557 passing from quarterback Mitchell Sanford, Berwick High School upset Northwest High School, 52-34 in a wild contest in Berwick Friday.
Sanford completed 23 of 42 passes with seven touchdowns and one interception Friday night, including four touchdown passes to Josh Carver.
Sanford added six carries for 43 yards as he accounted for exactly 600 of the Panthers’ yards.
“I thought he played his butt off,” Holden said of Sanford.
Carver finished the game with 11 catches for 306 yards, while Kenan Jones had 10 catches for 194 yards and two scores.
“Kenan was phenomenal,” Holden said. “Carver was phenomenal. The whole offense was phenomenal. The offensive line did a great job. Coach (Paul) Gilder and Coach Mo Senaca do a great job with those guys.”
While Berwick, which earned votes in last week’s Louisiana Sports Writers Association Class 3A poll, may have upset the ninth-ranked team in 3A in the poll, Holden said he didn’t approach the game like it was to make a statement and said he didn’t think his players did, either.
“I think we went out there (and said), ‘this is who we want to be. We want to be that team that’s … going to keep coming after you. We’re not going to stop,’” Holden said.
While Berwick finished the game with 651 yards of offense (557 passing and 91 rushing), the squad found itself down in a big hole quickly as it trailed 22-7 one play into the second quarter.
However, the Berwick offense rallied, first with the Sanford-to-Kenan Jones connection in the first half before the junior quarterback switched to Carver as his go-to target in the second half for the win.
Holden attributed the rough start to him and Sanford still getting to know each other as quarterback and offensive play caller.
Berwick scored the game’s first touchdown on a quick, four-play drive capped by a Sanford 16-yard completion to Collin Louviere with 9:14 remaining in the opening quarter for a 7-0 lead following Seth Canty’s extra point.
However, Northwest responded quickly with an 82-yard kickoff return for a score and a two-point conversion run by Keshawn Jackson for an 8-7 lead.
Things then went south quickly for the Panthers as Sanford was intercepted on the Panthers’ next drive on a pass that ricocheted off the hands of Jones and was hauled in by Montaze Sam, who returned the pick to the 6-yard line.
Three plays later, Kelvin Shorter scored on a 1-yard run, and Kaleb Prudhomme added a two-point conversion for a 16-7 Northwest lead.
Berwick picked up a first down on its next drive but then stalled. The Panther’s attempt at a fake punt was unsuccessful and Northwest took over at the Berwick 39.
Northwest converted the turnover into points as Keshawn Jackson scored on a 1-yard run with 11:55 left in the second quarter for a 22-7 lead after a blocked extra point.
For Berwick, however, as quickly as the Panthers got themselves in a jam, they got right back out of it, scoring touchdowns on their next three offensive possessions. Sanford connected with Jones for a 20-yard touchdown at the 10:31 mark, while Josh Jones scored on a 5-yard run on the second drive with 6:46 remaining to cut the Berwick deficit to 22-19.
Josh Jones led the team with 11 carries for 62 yards and a touchdown.
Berwick retook the lead on its final drive of the half when Sanford and Jones connected on a 53-yard catch-and-run for a score with 1:12 left in the half. Canty’s extra point made the score 25-22 in favor of the Panthers.
Jones finished the game with 10 catches for 194 yards and two scores.
After Northwest stopped Berwick on its first drive of the third quarter, Northwest took over and retook the lead when Prudhomme connected with August Pitre on a 61-yard pass play for a score with 10:03 remaining in the third quarter for a 28-25 Northwest lead.
After forcing a three-and-out on Northwest on its next possession, the Berwick offense heated up with four straight touchdown passes on offensive drives from Sanford to Carver.
Berwick retook the lead on a 90-yard pass play from Sanford to Jones with 6:31 remaining in the third, and after Travis Whitehead intercepted Prudhomme at the Northwest 26, Berwick responded with another touchdown, this one when Sanford fit the ball into a tight window over the defender’s shoulder that Carver practically caught on the defender’s shoulder pad for a 39-28 Berwick advantage following Canty’s extra point with 5:25 remaining in the third quarter.
While Northwest responded with a touchdown on its next drive via a 69-yard run by Mekhi Hammond on the first play of the series with 5:05 remaining in the third to cut its deficit to 39-34, Berwick countered with a 33-yard touchdown pass from Sanford to Carver at the 4 minute mark of the third period, followed by a 14-yard touchdown pass between the duo on the Panthers’ first possession of the fourth quarter with 5:18 left for the eventual final score.
“(Friday) night doesn’t happen unless everybody catches those balls,” Holden said, referencing Louviere’s touchdown reception, Travis Whitehead’s 41-yard reception as other examples along with Josh Jones’ rushing success.
Defensively, Berwick limited Northwest to 289 yards of offense.
Berwick (2-0) will return to action Friday when it hosts Class 4A South Terrebonne in a 7 p.m. contest.