BEREA -- The Pirates (5-0) were just one of three unbeaten Class A teams left in the state coming into Friday's matchup with Sayre.

Berea Community remained undefeated on the season by defeating the Spartans (1-2) 37-21 on Homecoming.

"Sayre is a good team. We knew we were going to have a good battle against them. We knew we were going to have to give them everything we could throw at them if we wanted to compete." Berea coach Aaron Stepp said.

Berea did just that.

On the opening drive, sophomore running back Jaiden Cunningham rushed 49 yards for a touchdown to set the tone early for Berea.

The Pirates defense came through in the second quarter with two quick sacks on Sayre's sophomore quarterback Cole Pennington. After applying pressure for three-straight plays, Berea's defense forced a fumble on Sayre's 3-yard line to give the offense great field position.

Jaiden Cunningham took advantage of the short field, rushing in for three yards to grab his second touchdown of the game to put the Pirates up 14-7 with 11:14 left to play in the second quarter.

Defensive efforts once again proved to be the difference maker when Pirates sophomore defensive back Clayton Martinez came up with a huge interception that gave Berea the ball back with 2:54 remaining in the half.

Berea wasted no time getting the ball down the field.

Three-straight first down rushes by Cunningham moved the chains up to their own 48 yard line, giving the offense a chance at the end zone before halftime.

Senior quarterback Jaylen Whitaker had half the field in front of him and only 40 seconds to make something happen.

Whitaker completed two-straight passes to his twin brother and wide receiver, Jarred Whittaker. The first was for 20 yards and put Berea on Sayre 33-yard line. The second completion was a 33 yard touchdown pass to put the Pirates up 21-14 at halftime.

Sayre mounted a comeback at the start of the fourth behind Pennington, who completed a one yard pass to junior tight end Ford Webb to bring the Spartans within three, down 24-21.

Berea moved the chains down the field thanks in large part to Cunningham, who rushed into the end zone for his third touchdown of the game to put the Pirates up 30-21 with 3:54 left in the game.

Sayre started their final drive with a chance, but were held up by the defense turning it over on downs.

Cunningham once again found the end zone in the final seconds of the game for his fourth rushing touchdown.

"Sayre played a heck of game. Coach Pennington did a great job tonight with his team. They battled with us all night, I just felt like we controlled the pace, and that's ultimately what led us to this win." Stepp said.

Jaylen Whitaker was 7-for-10 passing, with one touchdown, one interception and 35 rushing yards.

Jaiden Cunningham finished the night with 178 rushing yards and four touchdowns.

Jarred Whitaker was targeted three times, catching all three for a total of 72 yards and a touchdown.

The Pirates will look to stay unbeaten when they take on Dayton next Friday on the road.Jaiden Cunningham finished the night with 178 rushing yards and four touchdowns.

Jarred Whitaker was targeted three times, catching all three for a total of 72 yards and a touchdown.

The Pirates will look to stay unbeaten when they take on Dayton next Friday on the road.

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