ST. JOSEPH — Berrien Springs’ football team punched its playoff ticket in a big way in Friday night’s Berrien-Cass-St. Joseph Red Division conference matchup against Parchment.
The Shamrocks dominated all facets of the game in a 63-0 rout of the Panthers in a game played at St. Joseph’s Dickinson Stadium.
The win is Berrien’s sixth of the season, enough for an automatic bid to the postseason.
“The beginning of the year that’s always your goal, to get to the playoffs,” Shamrocks coach Bill Bergan said. “With our small numbers we had to stay healthy, still have to stay healthy.
“I was impressed with their focus. A lot of times homecoming can be a distraction, but most of these guys, it’s their third year on varsity, so they know what’s expected out of them.”
Berrien Springs (2-0 BCS Red, 6-0) was dominant from the start.
The Shamrocks forced an early punt out of Parchment (0-2, 1-5), which set up a short scoring drive capped off by senior running back Danny Vinson rushing for a five-yard score.
Vinson was a standout for the Shamrocks, rushing for three touchdowns and also returning a blocked punt 65 yards for a score.
Vinson finished with 50 yards on eight carries, all in the first half. Chris Pitone added 70 yards and a score on nine hauls, and Carson Pyle netted 95 yards and two scores on 17 carries, all in the second half with a running clock in effect.
Quarterback Nick Nelson found Anthony Latin with a 16-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter, and Payton White also had a rushing score in the second.
Nelson was 2-of-3 passing for 90 yards, with both completions to Latin.
Latin also intercepted two passes on defense for the Shamrocks, who were tough on that side of the ball all night.
Along with Latin’s two picks, Marshall McFarland also intercepted a Parchment pass on the Berrien Springs one-yard line that saved a potential Panthers score.
The Shamrocks also forced two fumbles, one of which they recovered, and blocked two punts, including Vinson’s long touchdown return.
“That pretty much is how it’s been all year,” Bergan said. “That’s probably our fourth or fifth blocked punt this season. We’ve had two others that went back for a touchdown. Defensively, we’ve stripped and scored to win the ball game against Constantine.
“Defense and special teams, that’s pretty much what we preach there. The guys did a great job of concentrating all week long. They do a good job.”
Berrien’s kicker, Faith Kittleson, was 9-of-9 on point after touchdown attempts.
“In years past, I think we’ve missed an average of 15 to 20 extra points in a season,” Bergan said. “She asked to come out, I watched her kick and said, ‘absolutely.’ She’s great.”
Berrien Springs 63, Parchment 0
P 0 0 0 0 — 0
BSp 21 28 7 7 — 63
BSp — Danny Vinson 5 run (Faith Kittleson kick), 8:37.
BSp — Vinson 29 run (Kittleson kick), 2:47.
BSp — Anthony Latin 16 pass from Nick Nelson (Kittleson kick), 1:12.
BSp — Vinson 1 run (Kittleson kick), 9:22.
BSp — Payton White 13 run (Kittleson kick), 7:24.
BSp — Vinson 65 blocked punt return (Kittleson kick), 6:02.
BSp — Chris Pitone 3 run (Kittleson kick), 4:17.
BSp — Carson Pyle 5 run (Kittleson kick), 4:05.
BSp — Pyle 5 run (Kittleson kick), 4:07.
First downs 1 15
Total net yards 48 345
Rushes-yards 15-(-20) 40-255
Passing yards 68 90
Comp-att-int 4-15-3 2-3-0
Fumbles-lost 2-1 0-0
Penalties-yards 5-35 10-70
Punts-avg. 2-32 0-0
Rushing — Berrien Springs: Danny Vinson 8-50, 3 TD; Chris Pitone 9-70, TD; Carson Pyle 17-95, 2 TD. Parchment: Connor Stutz 5-11.
Passing — Berrien Springs: Nick Nelson 2-3-90, TD. Parchment: Stutz 3-14-42, 3 INT; Ethan Spink 1-1-26.
Receiving — Berrien Springs: Anthony Latin 2-90. Parchment: Trey Sigourney 2-43; Spink 1-30. Records — Berrien Springs 2-0 BCS Red, 6-0; Parchment 0-2, 1-5.
Contact: bspencer@TheHP.com, 429-1294, @HPBenSpencer