O-line paves the way for Pan­thers win over In­di­ans

Cecil Whig - - SPORTS - By KEVIN PHILLIPS

Spe­cial to the Whig

Perryville put its of­fen­sive line to the test dur­ing the week of prac­tice in prepa­ra­tion for its game against vis­it­ing North East.

The of­fen­sive line was up to the task as it opened up holes for run­ning back Zac Zacer­ous and gave quar­ter­back Dom Gugliotta plenty of time in the pocket dur­ing the Pan­thers’ 49-12 vic­tory over the In­di­ans in Susque­hanna Di­vi­sion foot­ball ac­tion on Thurs­day, keep­ing their play­off hopes alive.

“We just ex­e­cuted well on of­fense. It was a tough week of prac­tice. We re­ally fo­cused on get­ting the big play down the field and work­ing hard. The line did a good job giv­ing me time and Zac big run­ning holes all day,” Gugliotta said. “We pushed them in prac­tice this week. We started out in the no-hud­dle, and we made a lot of ad­just­ments for them. They showed a lot of per­se­ver­ance this week. They did a re­ally good job.”

Perryville (3-5 over­all, 3-2 di­vi­sion) had four of­fen­sive touch­downs of 40 yards or more as it found space to make plays be­yond the first level of North East’s de­fense.

“[The In­di­ans] had a lot of peo­ple up near the line of scrim­mage. If they pen­e­trate, they have a lot of suc­cess, and they did,” Pan­thers coach Chris John­son said. “They had some plays where they were able to get into the back­field and make some plays in the back­field. If we were able to seal all that off and get a seam, there is re­ally no lay­ers to the de­fense. Once we get through, it be­comes a big play.”

The Pan­thers scored first when Gugliotta con­nected with Ben Sav­ick for an 8-yard touch­down. Perryville then had its first long touch­down on its next pos­ses­sion when Zacer­ous caught a Gugliotta pass in the flat and raced his way for a 42-yard touch­down to make it 13-0 with 2:49 left in the first.

Zacer­ous

PERRYVILLE—

kick-started Per- ryville’s 28-point se­cond quar­ter by tak­ing a draw 43 yards for a touch­down to make it 19-0, but North East (0-7, 0-5) re­sponded with a long touch­down of its own when Chase Hol­lis­ter hit Henry Rivers for a 79-yard touch­down pass.

On the first play of the en­su­ing pos­ses­sion, Zacer­ous scored his third touch­down of the game on a 54-yard run to give the Pan­thers a 26-6 lead. Zacer­ous said one rea­son for his three long touch- downs in the first half was due to strong block­ing down­field.

“My wide re­ceivers work on block­ing all of the time and my wide re­ceivers just blocked for me,” said Zacer­ous, who fin­ished with 166 all-pur­pose yards and four touch­downs. “When I got into the open field, they were there for cut-back lanes, and I was able to get touch­downs.”

Perryville added two more touch­downs in the se­cond quar­ter on a 26-yard in­ter­cep­tion re- turn for a touch­down by Bai­ley Ar­mour and a 42-yard touch­down pass from Gugliotta to DJ John­son. The Pan­thers capped off the first half scor­ing by tack­ling the punter in the end zone for a safety.

Hol­lis­ter and Rivers con­nected again on the game’s fi­nal play for a 17-yard touch­down for the In­di­ans.

The win keeps the Pan­thers in play­off con­tention, but they know they have to con­tinue to im­prove in or­der to win their re­main­ing two reg­u­lar sea­son games.

“The ex­e­cu­tion was a lot bet­ter tonight. There are some things that we need to clean up. I told the team that ‘We can be as good as we want to be. We’ve just got to con­tinue to learn to play a com­plete foot­ball game,’” John­son said. “We have a bunch of one-game sea­sons. Next week is an­other one-game sea­son. We’ve got to beat Jop­pa­towne, and they’re go­ing to be tough.”

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY KEVIN PHILLIPS

Perryville ju­nior Bai­ley Ar­mour, right, runs with the foot­ball dur­ing his team’s 49-12 win over vis­it­ing North East in Susque­hanna Di­vi­sion foot­ball ac­tion on Thurs­day.

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