LILBURN -- After falling behind by a touchdown in the third quarter on Friday, Duluth stormed back in the fourth with a pair of touchdowns to beat Berkmar 22-15.
"Our kids showed they can fight through a little bit of adversity tonight," Duluth coach Corey Jarvis said. "At halftime, we talked about we can't sit down and shoot ourselves in the foot. But we also talked about that we've got to have a little pride when we're having a bad game, offense or defense."
Duluth (1-0) had its winning drive set up with a fumble recovery at the Berkmar 38 with 5:55 remaining. On the next play, Will Delorenzo hit Jordan Dandridge down the field for a TD. The extra point made the score 22-15.
Berkmar tried to come back with a drive that eventually stalled at its own 41 late in the fourth. Two plays after a short punt, the Patriots (0-1) forced a fumble and were in business at the Duluth 44. But false start and chop block penalties pushed the offense back too far to gain a first down.
Duluth's Tyler Campbell converted a fourth-down fake punt with a 3-yard run on the opening play of the fourth quarter. Five plays later, Delorenzo put another ball in the air for Dandridge, who pulled it in for a 28-yard gain. Lavonte Cranford scored his second TD of the night on the next play with a one-yard run. The kick evened the score at 15-15 with 9:20 remaining in the game.
The Patriots took their only lead of the night in the third when Jaquan Morris (14-26, 230 yards) threw a pass to Dorren Miller (7 catches, 158 yards) for a 45-yard gain. That set up a 4-yard TD run by Ronnie Predeoux on the next play. The kick made the score 15-8.
Delorenzo (13-for-21, 165 yards, 2 TDs, INT) connected with Cranford for a 33-yard TD pass with 7:12 left in the first quarter for the opening score. Myles Campbell took a quick snap and ran the conversion in for two points to make the score 8-0 Wildcats.
Berkmar tied the game on Duluth's second mistake of the night. On fourth-and-14, the ball was snapped over the head of punter Max Hennen. Rashad Hall recovered the ball and ran it in eight yards for a TD. Hall kept the conversion attempt on a bootleg and crossed the goal line to tie the score at 8-8 with 4:29 remaining before halftime.
"I think we outplayed those guys," Berkmar coach Jonathan Sanks said. "We played hard. The team played hard, and I'm proud of them."