Perryville earns spot in playoffs
Saturday, October 25, 2008
PERRYVILLE — The Pirates are in the playoffs.
Perryville has distanced itself from a six-game losing streak with a 2-0 start in Class 3 District 1.
With the 28-6 victory Friday night against Dexter, Perryville (3-6) clinched a berth in the Missouri State High School Activities Association's new state playoff system, which takes two teams from each district and added a regional round before the sectionals.
In the playoffs, the Pirates will have a guaranteed chance to avenge a loss to a team from Class 3 District 2, since they lost to all four of them in Mississippi Area Football Conference White Division action.
The Pirates first will have a chance to win the district title. After winning a second straight game against a team from the SEMO Central, the Pirates will face the division champion next. Perryville will play 7 p.m. Thursday at New Madrid County Central (7-2), which improved to 2-0 in district play with a 64-7 clubbing of Kennett on Friday.
"We're not going to relax," Perryville senior running back Brent Roth said. "The district title is a big thing. It's bragging rights and home-field advantage and everything like that. We're going to go out there and try to win."
Wins were few and far between for Perryville until district play, but four of the losses had come against teams that carried 7-1 records into Friday's action.
Dexter came in Friday with a 3-5 record, but it had won three straight before losing the district opener to New Madrid County Central. The Bearcats needed a win Friday to stay alive in district play, but they fell apart early in the second half, allowing Perryville to score two quick touchdowns.
For the night, the Bearcats turned the ball over on three fumbles, an interception and also yielded an onside kick, had a bad snap on a punt and committed a roughing-the-kicker penalty. In addition, Dexter's defensive line was drawn offsides five times.
Perryville took advantage of the errors and committed few of its own, looking like a team much better than its record.
"Emotion," Roth said. "We're playing with emotion. We're playing hard and we're not shooting ourselves in the foot. Penalties and things like that hurt us all year, but we're playing good football."
The Pirates opened the game with a 12-play, 65-yard drive of running the ball at Dexter. Josh Perreault, who ended the night with 129 yards on 32 carries, scored on a 2-yard run to cap the drive with 6 minutes, 55 seconds taken off the clock.
After Dexter's first drive resulted in a bad snap on a punt that left Ben Mills with a 14-yard loss back to his 34-yard line, Perryville took a 14-0 lead with a nine-play drive. Garrett Flentge threw his first and only pass of the first half — a 10-yard scoring strike to Roth.
But Dexter struck back with Mills passing 6 yards to Ryan Windham for the score. The kick failed, however, and Perryville led 14-6.
Dexter had another drive with 2 minutes left in the half, but Mills' pass was juggled and picked off by Roth.
The Pirates wasted no time pulling away in the second half.
Roth, one of three different kickers used by Perryville, opened the second half with an onside kick that he recovered at Dexter's 35-yard line.
On the next play, Flentge hooked up with Roth on a 30-yard pass, and Perreault covered the last 5 yards for the score. Ben Prevallet added the PAT.
Dexter had good field position for its next drive, but Mills fumbled the snap and Andrew Martin covered it at Perryville's 46.
Five plays later, Flentge went over the top of Dexter's defense to find Martin on a 42-yard pass play. Prevallet's kick made it 28-6 with 8:43 to go in the third.