PERRY – On the backs of its second-stringers in a non-district game against Thomas-Fay-Custer, Perry High rallied from a 14-point deficit to earn a 21-14 victory on senior night.
The story of the first quarter was all of the defensive stops by both teams.
On Perry’s first drive, they found themselves in the red zone. On fourth-and-3, quarterback Mason Drake took a designed QB run to the right, but wound up short, turning the ball over on the Thomas 9-yard line. Using a series of quarterback runs and option plays with senior Dylan Castillo and junior Ethan Hamberlin, Thomas was able to get to midfield before turning the ball over on a backward pass that was scooped up by Maroons senior Dylan Avery.
Looking to get on the scoreboard first, the offense went to work, but every yard seemed like a fight.
The Terriers’ defensive line was wreaking havoc on Drake, and thus the offense. Drake was able to connect with receiver Wyatt Boyd over the middle to put the Maroons back into the red zone for a second time. After an incomplete pass in the endzone, Perry turned the ball over on downs once again.
Near the end of the first quarter, the Terriers began to take control.
The offensive line opened up holes for the speedy and elusive Castillo to run through.
Thomas continued to substitute fresh bodies at running back. Before halftime, they had handed the ball off to six different runners. The Maroons moved their safety down to attempt to counter the quickness of Castillo and try to deny him the edge. Thomas noticed and went over the top to Hamberlin for a 30-yard completion that put the terriers in scoring position for the first time all night.
On the first play of the second quarter, Hamberlin converted that long drive into points for the Terriers.
Perry couldn’t answer back. On third-and-8, Drake sailed a short pass intended for receiver Brody Harbour, forcing the Maroons to punt.
On the next Terrier drive, they continued finding success in the run game. Running back Owen Baldwin capped off the near 70-yard drive with a 15-yard scamper, breaking tackles on his way into the endzone.
Thinking about the looming playoffs next week, Drake was taken out of the game late in the first half. Brody Harbour came in at quarterback and gave some energy to the Maroons offense. Harbour found freshman receiver Dylan Hype on a slant route and Hype was able to juke out a Terrier on his way into the end zone.
“You never know what’s going to happen when the ball is in (Harbour’s) hand, it’s exciting,” Perry coach Travis Cole said.
The second half started with a huge play by the Maroons’ defense. Thomas backup quarterback Chance Simpson ran to his left and fumbled the ball after taking a huge hit. Senior Dylan Avery picked the ball up and ran it back to give tie up the game for the Maroons.
After the Terriers made the move to the backup Simpson to preserve Castillo for next week, the Thomas offense was never able to get anything going.
Perry took the lead after the Terrier defense lost track of running back Kohl Witter. After gaining the lead, the defense wasn’t going to lose it. To begin the fourth quarter, Ethan Calhoun picked off a lazy pass from Simpson. Thomas was only able to get one first down the rest of the game after the interception.
This game was a tune-up game for both teams as the playoffs start Friday. Perry will hit the road to take on 9-1 district winner Jones.
“They are talented,” Cole said. “Everyone is 0-0, so we’re all playing to keep playing.”