Burlington Central can't catch up to Richmond-Burton

Burlington Central senior Jason Berango was the epitome of a competitor in Friday night's 41-7 Big Northern East loss at Richmond-Burton.

Berango was still fighting for every yard possible even though a 41-point deficit forced Central to play the final 10 minutes of its seventh loss in as many games with a running clock. The 5-foot-8, 175-pound Berango dragged a pair of defenders with him on 21-yard run and on his next carry powered through defenders until he broke the plane of the goal line for a touchdown with 42.2 seconds to play.

What some would refer to as a meaningless touchdown against playoff-bound R-B (6-1, 4-1) displayed just how much playing the game for Central (0-7, 0-5) means to Berango.

"It's tough but we joined the team for a reason," Berango said after he rushed for 126 yards on 19 carries, threw for 48 yards and had a 56-yard kickoff return. "The game of football is all about competing. We have to keep going and we have to finish the season strong.

"It would be bad to just give it up our senior year. Most of us won't even play college football so we have to keep competing."

Not only is Berango playing after tearing the meniscus in both of his knees the previous two seasons, he's also playing a completely new position the last three games at quarterback.

"It's definitely a different experience and you get to see the game in a different way," Berango said. "It's awesome."

He has impressed first-year Central coach and former Vernon Hills all-state quarterback Jason Newburger.

"He's played through some tough circumstances and moved around to different spots," Newburger said. "We challenged him with the quarterback spot and he's really flourished. I can't ask anything more of him.

"Normally I wouldn't put a quarterback on kick returns but I don't want to take him off the field. He's too much of a spark."

Berango and senior Brad Sorensen (13 carries, 109 yards) led Central to 177 of its 300 total yards before halftime. But its first possession of the game stalled at the R-B 10 when Berango was stopped for a yard on fourth-and-3.

He was also stopped for a loss in the second quarter on a fourth-and-2 from the R-B 18.

"We have some good drives but we just can't finish it," Berango said. "I don't know why. We have to start executing."

R-B did by scoring on six of its first seven possessions en route to 500 total yards of offense. Joe Dittmar (15 carries, 126 yards) rushed for 3 touchdowns and Joe Wolfram (11 carries, 113 yards) scored on an 80-yard pass play from junior Brady Gibson (4-for-5, 161 yards).

Berango had to leave the game for five plays late in the third quarter after he was shaken up on a 5-yard run. But he was back in there the next time Central had the ball even though the deficit was 41-0.

"He's dangerous and if it wasn't for (Alex) Peete at Johnsburg, people would be talking about Jason Berango," said R-B coach Pat Elder after his team qualified for the playoffs for the ninth straight time. "He's shifty and he runs well and he never gives up on a play."

Junior Logan Dietz caught 3 passes for 39 yards and senior Tim Goehrke ran for 41 yards for Central, which faced unbeaten Marengo last week and goes to 5-2 Johnsburg next week.

"They've been working their butts off all year and they have improved," Newburger said. "I'm proud of the kids. It would be easy for 16-, 17- and 18-year-old kids to give up and lay down and they haven't done that."

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