Thanks to a career-long field goal by Austin Carver and a defense which put pressure on Perry quarterback Alec Monte all night, visiting Gilbert ruined the Pumas' homecoming night with a 9-0 win in a Division I, Section I matchup on Friday.
Carver made three field goals in the first half including a career-long 52-yarder in the second quarter which gave the Tigers (2-7) a two-score lead that was never threatened.
It has been a tough season for Gilbert. The Tigers were not competitive in three losses to three of the best teams in Division I (Chandler, Hamilton and Highland) the last three weeks. In Gilbert’s seven losses this season, the Tigers have been outscored by an average of 40-6.
But the Tigers came out this night with defensive intensity and forced a fumble on Perry’s first offensive possession. Daniel Elixson forced and recovered the fumble for Gilbert inside the Perry 30-yard line. The Tigers were unable to reach the end zone, but Carver nailed a 44-yard field goal to give Gilbert the 3-0 lead.
Later in the first, the Tigers forced and recovered another Perry fumble but once again Gilbert was unable to score a touchdown and settled for a 20-yard field goal by Carver. Though the Tigers inability to reach the end zone with great field position kept Perry (2-7) in the game, Gilbert’s defense never let up.
“We saw some tendencies in them from the film we watched. We thought we could rattle them a little bit. Austin is a great kicker. Sometimes we feel like we don’t give him enough of a chance to show off just how good he is, but is probably the leading kicker in the state.” Gilbert coach Tim Rutt said.
For Carver it was a team win.
“It was a great game. The defense played great. I have to give a lot of credit for my performance to the offensive line. During warmups I was hitting kicks from 50 yards. It feels good to hit one from that long out,” he said.
The defense finished with 10 sacks and never allowed Monte or the Perry offense to get into any rhythm.
“It was pretty ugly. I think we wasted a good defensive performance. Gilbert put good pressure on us and it’s tough for our offense. We had to convert Monte from a wide receiver to our starting quarterback, and he does a nice job, but we have just been riddled with injuries.” Perry coach Preston Jones said.
Both teams will be glad when this season is over, but Gilbert put together a good game plan and left Perry with a much-needed second victory.
“It was a great win for our program. We have been stuck all season and have suffered a lot. We have had a lot of injuries but the kids have continued to buy in and continued to play hard.” Rutt said.
Gilbert 9, Perry 0
First Downs: Gilbert 8, Perry 14
Rushing: Gilbert 29-50, Perry 27-151
Passing (comp.-att.-yards-TD-INT): Gilbert 7-12-59-0-0, Perry 7-12-73-0-1
Fumbles-lost: Gilbert 1-0, Perry 4-3
Penalties-yards: Gilbert 6-40, Mesa 5-35
Gilbert 6 3 0 0 -- 9
Perry 0 0 0 0 -- 0
Gilbert: Carver 44 FG
Gilbert: Carver 20 FG
Gilbert: Carver 52 FG