It had been about one month, but Perryville football coach Blane Boss was finally able to crack a smile once the clock struck zero. That’s because his Pirates dominated from start to finish as they snapped a four game losing streak during a 48-0 homecoming shutout of Sumner on Saturday at Pirates’ Stadium.
The 48 points scored is a season high for Perryville, surpassing the total the Pirates had in a 28-12 victory over St. James in week 2. It was also Perryville’s first win at home this season.
“We won big and that’s what you want to do on homecoming,” Boss said. “It was a great atmosphere here and it awesome to see the 1968 state champions. The kids came out and we didn’t play down to their level and came out with a win.”
The Pirates mustered 321 yards of total offense, including 279 yards on the ground. Perryville quarterback Drew Hotop led the offense with 122 rushing yards on 12 carries and also threw for 42 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
Marcas Mahathath gained 64 yards on five carries with one touchdown and also caught one pass for 24 yards and one score. Caleb Gremaud had 30 yards rushing on four carries and two touchdowns. James Rhoden and Austin Cook also added touchdown runs.
Despite all those big offensive numbers, it was the defense and special teams that started the Pirates off on the right foot. The opening possession for Sumner (1-8) ended in a three-and-out as the Bulldogs were forced to punt.
On the play, Clayton Steffens broke through the line and blocked the punt attempt and picked the ball up and ran it into the endzone for the first touchdown of the game.
“Anytime you can get a special team touchdown that is huge,” Boss said. “We will definetly take it and it got us off to a quick start.”
On the ensuing Sumner offensive possession, the defense came up big once more with an interception by Dawson Camden along the right sideline at the Sumner 32 yard line. Hotop followed that up with a 53 yard run to the 15 yard line. A few plays later, Gremaud punched it in on a 6-yard touchdown run to go up 14-0 with 7:50 left in the first quarter.
The Pirate defense forced their third straight punt that gave Perryville the ball at their own 43 yard line. The Pirates cashed in once again. The Pirates were forced into a 3rd and 10 situation, but Hotop found Carter Dix for 18 yards and a first down that set up Mahathath for his first touchdown on a 16 yard run to give Perryville a 20-0 lead in the first quarter. That point total was the most the Pirates had scored in the midst of their losing streak.
The defense was up to the task as well, as Sumner did not have a first down until the 9:56 mark of the second quarter thanks to an offisides flag.
The Pirates only allowed four first downs on the day. The defense held strong after that the Bulldogs never threatened to score until the final drive of the game when they reached the 25 yard line in the waning minutes.
Gremaud scored once more in the second quarter on a 1-yard touchdown plunge and the Pirates had the ball one more time at their own 35 yard line with three minutes to go before the half.
The Pirates did exactly what they had been doing the whole game: score.
Hotop rolled out to his left and fired a short pass to Mahathath, who weaved through the Sumner defense for the 24-yard touchdown and the 32-0 lead at the break.
The momentum carried into the second half as the Pirates scored on their opening drive on a 22 yard touchdown run by Rhoden and the special teams stepped up oonce more to force a safety after the snap on a punt was dropped.
Cook put the seal on the victory with a 5 yard touchdown run with 4:30 left in the game that was set up by a fumble recovery by Devin Pittman.
The victory gave Perryville (4-5) the points they needed in the standings to be able to host a district game next week. The fourth seeded Pirates will face Potosi at 7 p.m. at Pirate Studium. Perryville beat Potosi 10-8 in week 4.
“We have to enjoy this week and get back to work on Monday,” Boss said