Balanced Perry takes control early, routs Casa Grande - East Valley Tribune: VarsityXtra

Balanced Perry takes control early, routs Casa Grande

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Posted: Saturday, August 25, 2012 12:28 am | Updated: 12:29 am, Sat Aug 25, 2012.

Perry was prolific on both sides of the ball Friday night, scoring seven touchdowns on offense and two on defense.

Casa Grande Union could do nothing to stop the Pumas, who rolled to a 61-14 victory at Al Van Hazel Stadium in Larry Branson's first game as coach of the Cougars.

Division II Perry scored on all but two possessions, one of which ended with a missed field goal. The Pumas amassed 372 total yards in the first half en route to building a 35-0 halftime advantage.

"The offense had some nice drives and a few big plays, so we're pleased with that," Perry coach Preston Jones said. "The line did a great job with their discipline and footwork. We keep things as simple as we can and try to avoid mental mistakes."

The Pumas did have eight penalties for 62 yards.

"I was a little disappointed with our penalties," Jones said. "Perry beat Perry at times tonight."

Perry opened the game with a seven-play, 75-yard TD drive that ended with Austin Nightingale's 20-yard pass to Mikey Aguirre. Nightingale ran 3 yards for a touchdown to cap an eight-play, 75-yard drive with 8:29 left in the second quarter, and he completed a swing pass to Reggie Blader that went for a 41-yard TD with 1:04 remaining in the half.

Perry's other TDs in the first half came on Taelon Parson's 15-yard pass to Mitch Harris and a 1-yard run by Blader.

Following Blader's 57-yard kickoff return, Kenny Lewis ran 13 yards for a touchdown with 3:29 left in the third quarter. Vaughn Fredricks threw a 47-yard TD pass to Brady Hettinger with 9:01 remaining, and the Pumas scored their final TD with 6:38 left on a 32-yard fumble return by Landon Smith.

Perry rushed for 223 yards and passed for 231. Nightingale completed 8 of 10 passes for 169 yards and also was the leading rusher for the Pumas with 56 yards on seven carries.

After being held to 80 total yards in the first half, the Division III Cougars were much more productive in the second. They ran 36 plays, compared to eight for the Pumas, and gained 269 yards to finish with 349.

Casa Grande scored on two consecutive possessions in the third quarter, driving 76 yards in 10 plays and 73 yards in seven plays for touchdowns. The Cougars compiled 15 of their 20 first downs in the second half.

Down 41-0 after Aguirre returned an interception 52 yards for a TD, CG drove from its 24 to the 44 on five straight runs. After reaching the Perry 23 on Nick Elliott pass completions of 7 yards to Stephen Mendicino and 14 yards to Mitchell Thomas, Elliott was sacked for a 10-yard loss.

But on second-and-20, Elliott connected with Mendicino for a 33-yard touchdown with 4:06 remaining in the third quarter. Mendicino also had catches of 57 and 41 yards in the second half and finished with seven receptions for 147 yards.

The 57-yarder came on the Cougars' next series, advancing the ball to the Perry 5. A sack -- one of seven for the Pumas -- pushed them back to the 14, from where Elliott scrambled into the end zone on the final play of the third period.

Elliott completed 10 of 15 passes for 186 yards with two interceptions.

The Cougars rushed for 163 yards. Elliott had 55 on 22 carries, Keanu Lankster had 41 on 14 attempts, and Ryder McIntyre had 40 on six carries.

McIntyre also had a fourth-quarter interception.

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