After racing out to a three-touchdown lead at halftime, Bermudian Springs found itself in a tight ballgame going to the fourth quarter of Friday's district game leading by nine points.
But the Eagles responded with a pair of scoring drives to defeat Hamburg, 35-12, in the quarterfinals of the District 3 Class AA football tournament on their home field.
The victory sends Bermudian to the semifinal round for the fourth straight year. The Eagles hit the road to face Berks Catholic -- a 59-14 winner against Newport -- at 7 p.m. Friday.
Hamburg (5-6) trailed 21-0 in the third quarter before a 57-yard scoring run by quarterback Joe Cominsky with 7:20 left in the frame put the Hawks on the board. After stopping the Eagles again, Hamburg once again marched down the field and scored when Cody Miller took a pitchout and went 6 yards to paydirt to cut the deficit to 21-12 with 0:08 left in the third quarter.
"Our kids battled back and never quit," Hamburg head coach Joe Sinkovich said. "They stepped up and fought hard even after falling behind."
Bermudian (10-1) had a quick answer, though, as it stemmed the tide when Colton Dull bulled in from 15 yards out with 10:11 remaining. Ryan Markle iced things with a 22-yard touchdown gallop with 2:51 left.
"We really got after it defensively in the first half," Bermudian head coach Jon DeFoe said. "At halftime, we told the guys to put one more on the board and put this away. Obviously that didn't happen, they scored twice, and it was a game."
"But we had a nice response when we really needed it. A big run by Briton (Shelton) on the jet sweep really sparked that drive."
The Eagles took advantage of a Hawk fumble on the game's opening kickoff, which Bermudian fell on at the Hamburg 31. It took five plays, but Shelton scored from 7 yards out, and the hosts were in front 7-0 less than three minutes in.
Bermudian added a pair of scores in the second quarter, both on runs by Dull. The first capped a 15-play, 80-yard foray that started with a Ryan Markle interception, included a fake punt from the Hamburg 38 and culminated in Dull's 15-yard scoring run with 11:23 left in the half.
Dull's second score of the night came from 1 yard out with 2:37 left in the first half.
Until late in the third quarter, the Eagles hadn't gained more than 13 yards on any play from scrimmage. But they had eight plays of 14 or more yards in the last 15 minutes and finished the evening with 365 total yards and 21 first downs.
"We've done well against the run this year," Sinkovich said. "They broke a couple of long ones on us late, but I thought we did a good job against them defensively tonight."
Dull finished the contest with 116 yards and three scores on 24 carries, while Joe Raffensperger led the Hawks with 109 yards on 12 rushes, highlighted by a 70-yard run that set up Miller's score.
Hamburg 0 0 12 0 -- 12
Bermudian 7 14 0 14 -- 35
BeS -- Briton Shelton 7 run (Aaron Rebert kick), 9:29.
BeS -- Colton Dull 13 run (Rebert kick), 11:23
BeS -- Dull 1 run (Rebert kick), 2:37
Ham -- Joe Cominsky 57 run (kick failed), 7:20
Ham -- Cody Miller 6 run (run failed), 0:08
BeS -- Dull 15 run (Rebert kick), 10:11
BeS -- Ryan Markle 22 run (Rebert kick), 2:51
First downs 10 21
Rushes-yards 31-224 48-258
Passing 4-14-2 9-18-1
Passing yards 59 107
Total yards 283 365
Punts 4-19.0 2-37.5
Fumbles-lost 0-0 3-1
Penalties-yards 5-54 5-41
Rushing -- Hamburg, Joe Raffensperger 12-109, Cominsky 6-70, Ian Hamilton 2-23, Miller 6-16, Nick Kuhn 1-3, Robert Henne 4-3. Bermudian, Dull 24-116, Markle 8-77, Shelton 12-73, Ted Marines 4-(-8).
Passing -- Hamburg, Cominsky 3-10-50-1, Henne 1-2-9-0, Kuhn 0-2-0-1. Bermudian, Marines 9-18-107-1.
Receiving -- Hamburg, Miller 1-26, Austin Bashore 1-20, Raffensperger 1-9, Henne 1-4. Bermudian, Wyatt Gearhart 3-25, Markle 2-38, Alex Orwig 2-23, Austin Hartzell 1-11, Dull 1-10.