Panthers fall short in loss to Warriors
Special to the Whig
—Perryville started each half of the Susquehanna Bowl against host Havre de Grace with momentum, taking leads both before and after halftime.
The Panthers ran out of gas at the end, allowing a late touchdown pass from Mike Flosser to Kenny Sumpter to fall to the Warriors 28-21 in non-divisional football action.
“I think we came out and established momentum, and it carried over. It’s really good teams trading blows. We jumped out to a 12-point lead, and they have athletes left and right. I thought our defense, for the most part, did a great job containing them,” Perryville head coach Chris Johnson said. “I think we need to work a little harder, that’s partially on me, to make sure we’re conditioned for four quarters. I don’t think that’s the reason we lost, I just have to make sure we’re 100 percent ready for overtime and double overtime.”
HAVRE DE GRACE
The Panthers (0-3) got the ball to start the game and covered 76 yards in nine plays, culminating in a Dom- inic Gugliotta 20-yard touchdown pass to Caleb Robison to make it 6-0.
Perryville made it 12-0 with 2:20 remaining in the first quarter when Zac Zacerous recorded a 9-yard touchdown run, which was set up by a Billy Boyer interception that gave the Panthers the ball at the Havre de Grace 14.
The Warriors scored 14 unanswered points in the second quarter to take the lead going into halftime. The first score came on a Flosser 1-yard touchdown run. The second came when Flosser connected with Christian Penrow for a 20-yard touchdown pass with 37 seconds left before halftime.
“That was one of the biggest things we were trying to accomplish was to try to minimize his big play ability, and for the most part, we did this,” Johnson said of Flosser’s playmaking ability. “Towards the end of the first half, he made a couple of nice runs on us. He’s quick and very shifty athlete. He’s a very good athlete, very smart with his decisions and doesn’t try to force it too much.”
Perryville received a jolt to start the second half with a blocked punt on the Warriors’ first possession of the half, leading to a safety and tying the game at 14-14.
On the ensuing possession, Zacerous gave the Panthers the lead with a 15-yard touchdown run on fourthand-4. Perryville then made it 21-14 with a successful extra point.
With less than a minute in the third quarter, the Warriors (3-0) tied the game at 21-21 after Flosser kept it and raced his way to the end zone for a 26-yard touchdown run.
The game remained tied until 1:18 remained in the game when Flosser connected with Sumpter for a 30yard touchdown to give Havre de Grace the lead. The score capped a 12-play, 93-yard drive that took 2:30 off the clock.
Perryville went four and out on their final possession to lose the game. Despite the loss, Johnson sees hope in the future because of how the Panthers have improved over the last three weeks.
“I think this game shows even with injuries and illnesses we had and the adversity we’ve gone through that we really can be a hell of a football team. The kids understand that even though we’re 0-3,” Johnson said. “We’ve grown through that and I think the kids are seeing what I was talking about in attention to detail and doing the little things right. We’re starting to get there and I’m excited. I’m probably the most excited 0-3 coach in the state of Maryland right now because I know how good we can be.”
Perryville senior quarterback Dominic Gugliotta scrambles during the first quarter of his team’s 28-21 loss to host Havre de Grace in non-divisional football action on Friday.