In its 53-20 win over visiting Buckeye Verrado, Gilbert Perry’s stifling defense forced the Vipers into a one-dimensional run game that couldn’t lift the team out of an early deficit on Friday.
The Pumas exploded out of the blocks by scoring on their first three possessions and then returning an interception for a touchdown to go up 29-0 in the second quarter of the 4A-II nonregion game. Despite a late fourth-quarter charge led by running back Daniel Kang, the Vipers never came within more than 26 points.
While Perry was busy racking up an early lead, Verrado mustered only 60 yards of offense and three first downs before halftime.
Perry coach Preston Jones pointed to the “real disciplined defense” of his linebackers as a source his squad’s dominant performance.
Verrado divided carries among six different rushers with a deceptive combination of dives, reverses, and end-arounds from a three-tailback set in the first half.
“A lot of people are thrown off by it,” Jones said. “But (the defense) handled it really well.”
In the second half, Verrado abandoned its unorthodox scheme for the most part and leaned on sophomore fullback Daniel Kang, who rushed 21 times for 159 yards and a touchdown after the break.
Besides a single pass completion for a touchdown on the final play from scrimmage, the Verrado passing game did not exist.
The Puma offense, on the other hand, was dynamic. Five players scored offensive touchdowns, and two quarterbacks threw touchdowns.
Quarterbacks Alexander McKean and David Walker split time under center, and both found the end zone twice.
McKean did so on a pair of touchdown passes to wideout Ray Ogura, who led the team with three receptions and 74 yards.
Walker first struck on a two-point conversion to Drake Davis and then again on a screen for a touchdown to Mansel Simmons.
Tauren Darnell led the Puma rushing attack with 117 yards and a 39-yard touchdown run on 14 attempts.
After Darnell was rested in the fourth quarter, Cedric Simmons and Drake Davis combined for 52 yards on six carries.
The Perry special teams unit lit up the scoreboard as well, with a 33-yard field goal by Anthony Boyd and punt return for a touchdown by Devante Pouges.
Perry is 6-2 heading into its homecoming game next week against Gila Bend.