MONCKS CORNER -- It’s been six years since a Berkeley Stags team punched its ticket into a state championship game. If the scoreboard was any indication Friday night, the Stags should be well on their way toward a promising playoff run — they beat Darlington 40-0 in the Class AAAA Lower State opener at Bonner Stadium.
From Berkeley coach Randy Robinson’s assessment, the Stags have much to fix if they’re going to hoist any trophies anytime soon. Following his team’s blowout victory, Robinson sounded concerned Friday night, expressing his disappointment with an offensive performance he eventually deemed “embarrassing.”
“Offense, we weren’t very sharp to be honest with you. I thought our defense was unbelievable. Our guys played hard, got a shutout which was one of our goals,” he said. “Offensively, we were just too inconsistent. We can’t go very far doing that.”
Specifically, Robinson was bugged by several holding penalties, bad reads in the passing game and receivers who wouldn’t block.
But despite his frustrations, the scoreboard told the story of an offense that had no issues finding the end zone early and often.
After the opening kickoff, Berkeley quarterback Darius Douglas fed the ball to running back Damond Navarre three straight times, with Navarre picking up gains of 26 and 30 yards before he scored on a 2-yard carry. The Stags went up 7-0 a mere 21 seconds into the game.
Navarre struck again in the Stags’ second series, tallying 15 more yards on the ground and scoring again, this time on a 1-yard dash. That put the Stags (9-2) ahead 14-0, and by the end of the first quarter, they led 21-0.
Before he went down with an injury following a hard hit as he streaked down the sidelines, the sparkplug Navarre already had 73 yards on seven carries through Berkeley’s first two drives. His yardage, along with back-to-back touchdown passes form Douglas to Daveon Moore, helped hand the Stags a comfortable 34-0 lead at the half.
Robinson said Navarre would be further assessed Saturday to determine the seriousness of his injury.
In the meantime, the Stags’ practice schedule will be tweaked a little bit with Thanksgiving on Thursday.
Douglas, the senior quarterback, echoed his coach’s sentiment regarding the offensive frustrations and stressed that the Stags need to use their time wisely this week in practice to clean things up.
Then it's off to the next round, a game both coach and quarterback are hoping is more consistent.
“We could have played a whole lot better. We made a lot of mental mistakes on offense,” Douglas said. “We know we can do a whole lot better, so we should expect ourselves to be a whole lot better than what we played tonight.”