The Perry High defense bowed its back in the second half on Friday night against Newkirk and shut out the Tigers.

Too bad for the Maroons poor tackling in the first half had already put Perry behind by three scores and the Maroons’ offense hadn’t faired much better.

Newkirk quarterback Shea Johnston may have left his usual jersey in the bed of his pickup truck, but while wearing No. 33 he was just as elusive. The Maroons’ defense couldn’t contain the mobile quarterback and the offense struggled to keep him off the field consistently.

Only amassing 143 totals yards of offense, the Maroons were unable to come back from the Tigers’ halftime advantage and fell 21-0 at Daniels Field as Newkirk defenders found just about every hole in the Perry offensive line.

“They just beat us up front,” Perry coach Craig Hixon said. “They had big, physical linemen and had great game plan. They flat out beat us up front.

“We couldn’t get a good push, couldn’t get the drive we needed and never could bust anything to the outside like we had in other games.”

The main focus of Newkirk’s game plan was to stack the line of scrimmage with as many defenders as possible and force Perry (3-2 overall, 1-1 Class 2A, District 1) to face an overmatched offensive front or throw the football.

Despite success in the past against a run-heavy defensive focus, the Maroons’ running game never got rhythm against the Tigers (4-1, 2-0).

“They were just firing through the gaps and they had a good defensive plan and scouted us out well,” fullback Brayley Running said. “They knew what we were going to do.”

Newkirk gave little respect to the Maroons’ passing attack and used its cornerbacks as extra linebackers. Every time running back Brian Yenor tried to bust a play outside, there was a cornerback there to take out his legs.

Yenor managed only 75 yards on 22 carries.

“It’s pretty frustrating, but we just have to watch film and learn from our mistakes,” Yenor said.

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