PERKINS – Perkins-Tryon held on to defeat John Marshall 14-6 in a defensive game at McIlvain Field on Friday night to essentially wrap up a home playoff game for the first time under coach Bruce Williams.

It is also the first time the Demons got to eight wins in a regular season under Williams and their best regular season mark since 2011.

Williams enjoyed the style and pacing of the game.

“That was some old school football,” Williams said. “It brought back some memories.”

Each team entered the game with the same one loss record with that defeat being to District 3A-1 leader Heritage Hall, but the Demons had a singular goal in mind. A win against the Bears would ensure they finished second in the district and avoid heading on the road in the first round of the playoffs.

Perkins-Tryon looked to lean on their offensive leaders Austin Mages and Ayron Lawson, a quarterback and running back duo that has catalyzed the dynamic offensive performances their team has been known for this season.

The Bears started the game with the ball and turned it over on downs, leading to a bizarre turn of events. Mages broke off a run of nearly 60 yards and was caught from behind, fumbling the ball in the process. On the very next play, the Bears (7-2, 4-2) fumbled as well, giving the ball right back to the Demons, who then scored on a one-yard run by Lawson to put them up 7-0.

John Marshall then marched down the field on a drive that consisted mostly of end-around rushing attempts before scoring on a six-yard run by Elias Morales. However, the Bears were unable to make their point-after attempt, leaving the score at 7-6.

After a missed field goal attempt on their next drive, the Class 3A No. 5 Bears moved the ball down the field again before none other than Lawson picked the ball off at the 50-yard line. However, Mages was sacked twice, forcing the Demons to punt the ball.

Then, Perkins-Tryon (8-1, 5-1) surgically moved down the field on moderate rushing plays, contrasting the team’s big-play nature. Mages capped the drive off with a one-yard touchdown run to put the Demons up 14-6 just before halftime.

The Demons started the second half with the ball and methodically moved down the field on an 11-play drive that took nearly seven minutes off of the clock, but they turned the ball over on downs in Bears territory.

That spelled the result of the third quarter; no scoring and drives that only ended in punts.

Five drives in a row led to punts, lasting all the way until the fourth quarter when No. 6 Perkins-Tryon stopped the John Marshall on fourth and one to get the ball on the Bears’ 45-yard line. That momentum proved irrelevant though, as a wild pitch resulted in nearly 20 lost yards on third down, forcing the Demons to punt yet again.

John Marshall received the ball on the 50-yard line with one last chance to score, completing a short pass and attempting to pitch the ball as many times as possible, but their efforts came up short, sealing the 14-6 victory for the Demons in a scoreless second half.

Williams was proud of how his team handled the situation and stuck together as a unit.

“It’s a true definition of a team, the guys in that locker room,” Williams said. “There’s no selfish players, a lot of role players that would like to play more, but they understand their role. It’s a fun group to coach.”

Williams also knows that with the season nearly over, a good attitude will help his team as they practice in the upcoming week for their last regular season game.

“We have to just keep getting better,” Williams said. “We’ve got to have a great week of practice and we’ve got to improve to be the best that we can be. That’s what we’ll be focused on, but we’re going to enjoy this win for a couple of days.”

Perkins-Tryon plays its regular season finale at Mount St. Mary in Oklahoma City on Friday.

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