PERRYVILLE -- Senior Josh Perreault did all he could to help the Pirates stage a second-half comeback Friday. And he did it playing a new position.
Perreault had started every game of his varsity football career since the beginning of his junior year at quarterback until Friday night against Park Hills Central, when he was called on to play running back/receiver.
Perreault had quite a day, rushing for 184 yards and scoring two touchdowns.
He helped the Pirates battle back from a two-touchdown deficit at halftime to bring the game within three points with 28 seconds remaining.
But that was as close as Perryville would get.
Park Hills -- behind its own impressive running back Tony Martin, who rushed for 153 yards and scored three touchdowns -- held on for a 24-21 win in a game that included a 50-minute weather delay.
Perryville dropped to 1-3, while Park Hills improved to 3-1.
Perryville had a chance to tie the game with 4 seconds remaining. After recording a safety with 28 seconds left, Perryville got the ball back and completed two passes to set up a 47-yard field goal attempt for kicker Ben Prevallet. But the kick was blocked.
"We're a little heartbroken because this was a very important win to us," Perreault said. "But it's nothing we can't come back from. It's very doable."
Perryville also had a chance to take the lead earlier in the fourth quarter.
The Pirates had first-and-goal at the 7-yard line, trailing 24-19 late in the fourth quarter. But penalties and a sack of Perryville sophomore quarterback Garrett Flentge -- who was making his first start in replace of Perreault -- forced the Pirates to third-and-goal from Park Hills' 27-yard line.
On the play, Flentge dropped back to pass to Perreault, but Park Hills' Matt Ketterer intercepted the pass with 1:39 remaining.
"I don't really think their defense stepped up," Perreault said. "I just think we shot ourselves in the foot. I don't know how many countless times we've gotten facemask calls, unsportsmanlike-conduct calls, false starts, and it just kills us."
Perryville also missed a good opportunity to score a touchdown in the second quarter, trailing 14-7 with 5:47 remaining before the half.
Perreault dashed 44 yards to give his team first-and-goal from the 5-yard line. But Perreault fumbled, preventing his team from tying it.
"As I fell, I hit the ground and I guess another guy just fell on top of me and the ball just squirted out," Perreault said.
Perreault was the Pirates' starting quarterback last year, and he started at quarterback in the first three games this season.
But Perryville first-year coach Jim May, who had been working in Perreault at wide receiver and running back during practices, switched Perreault to running back/receiver at halftime against Ste. Genevieve last Friday.
May in turn inserted Flentge at quarterback.
May had said during this week that he would return Perreault to quarterback.
"Monday, he [May] brought me into his office and talked about what I wanted to be -- quarterback or running back," Perreault said. "He said the choice was up to me. But either way I needed to get the ball more often."
Perreault said he chose running back to take some of the running load off senior Brent Roth, and because Flentge is a capable quarterback.
"Well see," May said when asked whether the move was permanent. "He [Perreault] is pretty electric right there. I think that was pretty evident tonight. And Garrett is a pretty good quarterback."
Perreault dashed for 29 yards the first time carried the ball Friday. That was a sign of what was to come.
On Perryville's second drive, which consisted of seven plays, Perreault carried three times, including runs of 19 and 22 yards then a 15-yard touchdown.
Perreault's 15-yard touchdown came with 5:05 left in the first quarter. Ben Prevallet added the extra point to give the Pirates the early 7-0 advantage.
That's when the rain and thunder came. The game was delayed approximately 50 minutes, and when it continued, Park Hills looked recharged.
Perryville kicked off to Park Hills, which started its drive at its own 37.
Martin took the first handoff of the drive 63 yards for the touchdown. The extra point was missed, allowing the Pirates to keep a 7-6 lead.
Park Hills gained the lead with two-second quarter touchdowns -- a 2-yard run by Martin and a 48-yard touchdown pass from Bland to Martin with 15 seconds remaining before halftime. Park Hills led at the break 21-7.
"After that rain delay, we came out and they got two scores on us right away," Perreault said. "We just had to chase them the rest of the game. If we hadn't let that happen, we would have won."
Perryville began its comeback when Perreault ran for a 15-yard touchdown with 4:30 left in the third quarter. The Pirates also had two safeties and a field goal in the second half.
Park Hills' only second-half score was a field goal.
"We're getting closer to playing 48 minutes," May said. "That's our goal. ... We got to where we had a chance to kick a field goal to tie it in the end. But that's a game I feel like we should have won. That's a tough one to take."
@z_agate_no tab_no indnt_bld ld:First quarter
P -- Josh Perreault 15 run (Ben Prevallet kick), 5:05
PHC -- Tony Martin 63 run (kick failed), 4:52
PHC -- Martin 2 run. (C.J. Bland pass to Brad Bales), 7:26
PHC -- Martin 48 pass from Bland (Taylor Gray kick), :11
P -- Perreault recovers blocked punt in end zone (Prevallet kick), 4:30
PHC -- Gray 33 FG, :51
P -- Prevallet 23 FG, 7:08
P -- Defense sack QB in end zone, 5:25
P -- Defense sack QB in end zone, :28