PERRY TOWNSHIP – The Wing-T offense in football can be very effective.
With Friday night’s cold and wet weather conditions, Riverside’s Wing-T attack proved to be fatal for Perry.
Riverside took the lead for the first time in the third quarter and then controlled the clock, en route to a hard-fought 20-18 victory over the host Commodores.
Perry’s loss creates a three-way tie atop the Northwest Central Conference, with one loss apiece for Perry (6-2, 4-1 NWCC), Riverside (5-3, 4-1 NWCC) and Sidney Lehman (5-3, 4-1 NWCC). Perry plays host to Sidney Lehman next week.
After falling behind 18-13 by the halftime break, Riverside came out in the second half, took the lead and shut down the Perry offense the rest of the way.
“They did a good job with the ball in the fourth quarter,” Perry coach Dan Baker said. “We had a couple defensive stops there. I think we were inside the 10-yard line two times in the fourth quarter and didn’t capitalize. That happens once in a while. They (Riverside) are a great football team. We battled, and it was a good football game. It’s unfortunate we were on the bad side of it, but that’s football.”
After rolling up 251 offensive yards in the first half, Perry managed just 95 yards in the second half.
“I don’t want to blame the weather,” Baker said. “We just happened to have it (bad weather) tonight. But, we needed to step up a little earlier on defense. We also didn’t put any points on the board there in the second half.”
Early on, it didn’t take the Perry offensive unit very long to strike.
On the first possession of the game, on a third down-and-22 play, Perry quarterback Louis Hoersten ran to his left and found room on the sideline and went 66 yards for a touchdown. The two-point conversion failed, and Perry led 6-0 just a little more than two minutes into the contest.
Hoersten was 13 of 23 passing for 125 yards. The senior signal-caller also rushed for 119 yards on 11 carries.
The Commodores added another score before the end of the first quarter. With time running out, senior running back Nylan Cannon (17 carries, 95 yards) found room around the left end and ran it in from 7 yards out, giving Perry a 12-0 lead.
Riverside bounced back in the second quarter. The Pirates mounted a 13-play, 71-yard scoring drive, capped off with a 3-yard TD run by Lucas Roby. With the extra point, the Perry lead was cut to 12-7, with less than five minutes left to play in the first half.
On the Commodores’ next possession, Cannon ran the ball 51 yards, setting his team up on the Riverside 2-yard line. On the next play, Hoersten ran it in for the score, pushing the Perry lead to 18-7 with 3:53 left in the half.
Roby added another score for the Pirates before the end of the first half. The senior running back broke loose for a 30-yard TD run, cutting the deficit to 18-13. The five-point Perry lead held up until the halftime break.
Roby led all rushers with 180 yards on 33 carries.
Riverside claimed its first lead of the night late in the third quarter. The Pirates mounted a 12-play, 62-yard scoring drive, capped off with a 2-yard run by quarterback Joel Cotterman. With the extra point, Riverside led 20-18.
In the fourth quarter, Perry struggled to move the football against the Riverside defense.
The Pirates held off the Commodores in the final minute of the game, as Perry got the ball inside the 10-yard line and was unable to score.
“Lima Perry is one heck of a football team,” Riverside coach Tim McGill said. “We knew, coming in, that they have incredible athletes, and they are well-coached. We felt like we had to shorten the game. We felt like we had to keep the ball – run the ball and chew up the clock – and give ourselves an opportunity to win at the end.”
For the game, Riverside recorded 231 total offensive yards.
“We still have a chance for the first-ever conference championship,” Baker said. “We just have to come back, ready to work on Monday, and game plan for Lehman Catholic.”
Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.