Johnsburg hands Burlington Central another loss

While it may indicate that after Burlington Central's 41-13 loss to Johnsburg Friday that the Rockets could possibly finish 0-9 for the first time since 1993, Skyhawks coach Dan DeBoeuf made something crystal clear about their Big Northern East foes Friday.

The Skyhawks (6-2, 4-2), who clinched a playoff spot with their sixth win, believed the Rockets' winless record coming in wasn't indicative of who the Rockets truly were. Johnsburg knew Central's tough early schedule and some bad luck wouldn't translate into an easy game in Johnsburg.

"They've got some athletes over there," DeBoeuf said. "That No. 2 (quarterback Jason Berango) is a really good football player, and we talked all week that they have the athletes to make plays and we just have to focused."

Not only did Central make a few plays before it was all said and done, it blurred Johnsburg's focus early. Behind 14-0 early in the second quarter, the Rockets, on 3rd-and-2 from their own 33, watched Berango, who was incomplete on his first 3 passes, convert on an impromptu strike over the middle to Logan Dietz (2 catches, 88 yards) for a 67-yard touchdown catch down the left sideline with 11:18 left which put Central (0-8, 0-6) right back in it down 14-7 after Cole Tecza's extra point.

"We were trying to fake them out, it was supposed to be me for a draw," Berango said. "But (Dietz) went out, he was wide open and I took that shot and it worked out for us."

A charged up Central sideline saw the momentum further swing in its favor on the subsequent kickoff when Berango recovered a live ball that the Skyhawks clearly froze on near the Johnsburg 30, which set up good field position and a chance to tie the game with 11:08 remaining.

"Once we had that passing play going, I mean it just got us going," said Berango, who finished 4-14 for 97 yards. "We needed that passing play to spark the whole team and it sparked everyone else. It's what got us back in the game."

Berango added an 11-yard keeper on the first play of the drive, and a 5-yard penalty on Johnsburg put BC at the Skyhawk 15. But Johnsburg's vision eventually cleared up and the game's complexion took a different route on the drive's fifth play, when Tecza's 32-yard field goal attempt to cut the deficit to 14-10 was blocked and returned 70-yards by Blake Lemcke down the right sideline for a 20-7 Skyhawk lead with 9:32 left. And just like that the Skyhawk playoff coronation was on.

"We got the momentum but unfortunately we couldn't capitalize," Rockets coach Jason Newburger said. "That blocked kick near the end of the half zapped the momentum a bit and then we didn't respond in the second half."

Johnsburg rattled off 27 unanswered points until Cameron Kaldenberger found Tommy Moretti on a 2-yard touchdown pass late in the fourth. But the Skyhawks used a heavy dose of junior running back Alex Peete, who rushed 20 times for 194 yards and 4 touchdowns, including 2 in the second half. Peete rushed in from 12, 4, 13 and 9-yards-out, a more typical outing for speedster who was held to 62 yards last week in a loss to Marengo.

Johnsburg, who turned the ball over 4 times, outgained Central 457 to 159, including a 296-33 edge in rushing. Skyhawk quarterback Riley Buchanan threw for 153 yards on 14 of 19 passes. He hooked up with 5 different receivers, including Nico LoDolce 6 times for 59 yards and Bryce Jordan 3 times for 43 yards. Chuck Curry hauled in 2 catches for 49 yards.

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