Shawn J. Soper
Cadets Finish Season Unbeaten
BERLIN- The Berlin Cadet Dolphins youth football team last week beat the Salisbury Terps, 18-13, to capture the Salvation Army “Red Shield” League championship and finish the regular season with a perfect 8-0 record.
With the win over the Terps, which came into the game in second place with a 6-1 mark, the Dolphins earned the top seed in the Cadet League playoffs. Berlin ran the table in the regular season but the Terps stood between the Dolphins and the hopes of an unbeaten mark. While Berlin prevailed, the game turned out to be everything as advertised and both teams locked up in a defensive struggle.
Berlin turned the ball over on its first few offensive possessions of the game, but the defense was stout and turned Salisbury away each time and the first quarter ended in a 0-0 tie. In the second quarter, Berlin capitalized on a Salisbury turnover to set up its first score. Berlin’s Hayden Gable’s big hit caused the Terps’ ball carrier to cough up the ball and Max Spicer and Ricky Hall recovered for Berlin.
Berlin’s J.J. Purnell then carried the ball 39 yards to the Salisbury four yard line and Devin Daniels punched it in from there to stake Berlin to a 6-0 lead. However, Salisbury answered two plays later on a 35-yard touchdown run and the score was tied a 6-6 at the half.
Salisbury returned the opening kick-off in the second half to Berlin’s 25-yard line, but the stout Dolphin defense forced the Terps to turn it over on downs and come up empty. Berlin then went on an eight-play drive culminated by Daniels’ 35-yard touchdown run, his second of the game, to make it 12-6.
In the fourth quarter, it was Daniels again, scoring this time from 25 yards out to stake Berlin to an 18-6 lead. With less than two minutes left in the game, Salisbury broke a big run to the Berlin 10-yard line and scored a few plays later to cut the lead to 18-13, but the Dolphins were able to kill the clock and win the game.
“I’m so proud of this team today, because we had a game plan and things don’t always go as planned,” said assistant coach and defensive coordinator Bill Wheatley. “The defense controlled them and kept us in it while our offense overcame and finally persevered. It was a real team win.”
Berlin now advances to the Red Shield League playoffs as the top seed. The Dolphins will face Snow Hill in the first round on Monday at the Salvation Army Stadium in Salisbury.