LILBURN - Berkmar couldn't overcome a season's worth of mistakes in its home opener.
The Patriots had 60 yards in penalties, lost a fumble that led to a score, had an interception returned for a touchdown, and even allowed a 60-yard touchdown run on a third-and-40 situation. The result was a 39-7 loss to Upson-Lee at Patriot Field in Lilburn.
It could have been worse. Upson-Lee's second team failed to convert after getting the ball inside the 5 near the end of the game when Berkmar fumbled a benign punt.
The stream of mistakes placed added pressure on Berkmar's new offense, which it wasn't ready to accept. That forced the Patriots' defense to spend too much time on the wet field against Upson-Lee's effective option offense.
"We should have done better," said Berkmar running back Aaron Constance. "We had too many mental errors. We should have finished the game."
Upson-Lee (1-0) rushed for 328 yards and had four players exceed 60 yards: Trustin Brazer with 90, Donterrius Harris with 80, Melvin Ferguson with 72 and Myron Walker with 65.
Spindly Berkmar quarterback Quavious Marshall had his moments, completing 24 of 40 passes for 178 yards. Constance rushed 10 times for 45 yards and caught four passes for 50 yards.
Upson-Lee took a quick 10-0 lead in the first quarter. The Knights scored on their first possession, a seven-play drive that culminated in a 27-yard Luke Paul field goal. Berkmar then gave the ball back when Xavier Briggs fumbled the kickoff and Greg Napier recovered for Upson-Lee at the 18. Donterrius Harris scored on the first play, running off left tackle for the 18-yard touchdown.
Berkmar (0-2) failed to produce a first down on its next possession, but Ben Wibonele's punt was fumbled by Antonio Copeland and recovered by Marquis McNeil at the 31. The turnover seemed to energize the lackluster Berkmar offense, which drove 69 yards for a touchdown. Upson-Lee helped the cause again by being flagged for roughing the kicker on Wibonele's missed 31-yard field goal. The Patriots took advantage of the mulligan and scored two plays later when Quavious Marshall connected with Duchein Williams for an 8-yard touchdown. Wibonele's extra point cut the Upson-Lee lead to 10-7.
Berkmar's defense failed to break on Upson-Lee's next possession, a 14-play drive that ended when Paul's 42-yard field goal attempt sailed right.
Berkmar moved the ball effectively in its final two possessions, but failed to capitalize. The half ended with Williams failed to snag a catchable pass in the end zone as time expired.
Upson-Lee scored on its first possession of the second half, as Harris scored on a 47-yard run to give the Knights a 17-7 lead. They essentially put the game away moments later when Montavious Skelton intercepted a poor throw and returned it 21 yards for a touchdown and a 24-7 lead.
Upson-Lee tacked on a touchdown after forcing Berkmar to give the ball up on downs. Trustin Brazer took a quick hitter for a 33-yard TD. The Knights rubbed it in a bit by throwing for a two-point conversion to take a 32-7 lead.