Berkley football crowned district champions

By: Christian Davis | Woodward Talk | Published November 9, 2015

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BERKLEY — Berkley High football coach Chris Sikora called it “surreal.”

Receiver Nolan Givan said it was “unbelievable.”

The Bears had just beaten Southfield High 28-20 for a Division 2 district championship Nov. 6 at home when those words were spoken.

“We were underdogs from the beginning, but it just goes and shows what heart and hard work can do,” Givan said. “No matter what size you have or talent, as long as you put in the work, magical things can happen.”

It was all Berkley in the first half, striking first when Ross Herron hit Kedar Browning on a 19-yard seam route for a score with 9:19 left in the half.

After a Southfield turnover on downs, Berkley pushed the lead to 14-0 on its next possession when Herron scored from 1 yard out on a sneak with 2:07 left in the half, capping off a 73-yard drive.

On the next play from scrimmage, Berkley’s Nolan Givan tipped a Southfield lateral pass and recovered the loose ball in the end zone to make it 21-0, which would stand until halftime.

Berkley ran 31 plays to Southfield’s 19 in the first two quarters.

“It was really keeping their defense on the field as much as possible,” Sikora said of his team’s tempo. “(Southfield) has seen some option before, but we felt that it’s what we do. We’re skilled at it, and we can make plays.”

The Blue Jays showed some life to start the third. After a 44-yard opening kick return by Tyrone Lyte, Eric McArn rushed in from 5 yards out four plays later to make it 21-7.

Berkley pushed the lead back to 21 points early in the fourth quarter after Browning took a toss around the right side for a 1-yard score on fourth-and-1.

The Blue Jays made it 28-13 when Sam Johnson III connected with Brandon Gray on a 32-yard touchdown pass with 2:31 remaining.

Southfield recovered the ensuing onside kick, but turned it over four plays later, one of five turnovers for the Blue Jays.

After a Berkley fumble, Southfield made it a one-score game when Josh Pickens made a diving catch from Johnson in the back of the end zone to make it 28-20 with 1:16 remaining, but that’s as close as the Blue Jays would get after Berkley recovered the onside kick.

Southfield finished the season 7-4 overall. Berkley went to 9-2 and hosts Livonia Franklin in the regional round. The time and date were not yet determined at press time.

“It is kind of surreal,” Sikora said moments after being handed the district trophy. “I can only give credit to my assistant coaches, administration supporting me, and really the kids’ hard work and effort. I’m really proud to be a Berkley Bear.”

For more on the postseason, visit www.candgnews.com.

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