After 67 hours, 4 inches of rain, bubbling turf, and periods of heat and sunshine, the most important number for Perryville football coach Blane Boss and his team was one — as in the number of wins the team has.
The Pirates came up with a goal line stand in the game’s final minutes to preserve a 14-7 victory over De Soto on Monday after the game was postponed from Friday late in the second quarter, thanks to a monsoon that made De Soto’s turf unplayable.
“Our goal was to win this game and that’s all that mattered,” Boss said. “We got the job done. I’m super proud of our defense, they came up huge. It was super gritty how both teams played out there. Both teams were dead with the heat and they made some plays when we needed them.”
Playing in humid, 90 plus degree conditions, the Perryville defense appeared as if they would relinquish the tying touchdown as it struggled to contain the deep passing attack of the Dragons late in the fourth quarter on its final drive.
De Soto couldn’t have asked for a better chance to get the game-tying score on the first play of the drive, but junior wide receiver Levi Fischer couldn’t haul in a pass from his older brother.
A pass interference call gave De Soto the ball deep in Pirate territory.
De Soto followed that up with a 26-yard pass from quarterback Briar Fischer to John Whited to the five-yard line.
That’s when the Perryville defense muscled up.
Caleb Gremaud burst through the line on first down, taking down Desoto running back Dominic Punjani for a five-yard loss for one of his 10 tackles in the game. Two plays later, junior Fernando Bojorquez sacked Fischer as he rolled out. The final play was broken up in the end zone by Eli Bierk giving the ball back to the Pirate offense with 1:48 left.
“The guys knew what was at stake and they wanted it,” Boss said.
The game was restarted with 3 minutes, 46 seconds left in the second quarter, and neither team could get on the board to finish out the first half. However, the beginning of the third quarter was all Pirates.
Perryville converted a pair of fourth down situations, then newly anointed quarterback Evan Daugherty found Carter Dix down the sideline where he out jumped a defender for a 35-yard touchdown, giving the Pirates a 7-0 lead midway through the third quarter. Dix led Perryville with two catches for 43 yards.
Daugherty accounted for both touchdowns on the day for Perryville and had66 yards on 18 carries, along with going 5-11 with 59 yards through the air in his first start at quarterback.
The second touchdown came just 35 seconds later, as De Soto fumbled the ensuing kickoff and Perryville recovered at the Dragon 18-yard line. Two plays later, Daughterty powered into the endzone on a 4-yard run, giving Perryville the 14-0 advantage with 6:43 left in the third quarter.
It’s what you have to do there,” Boss said. “When you can turn turnovers into points, you will have a chance to win.”
The Pirates had a chance to add a third touchdown in the quarter, as De Soto fumbled on the first play of their next drive. A long pass from Daugherty for wide receiver Dawson Camden was broken up in the endzone.
“I think Dawson had his hands on it,” Boss said. “But the defender did a good play on the ball and got a hand in there as well.”
Given the break, the Dragons capitalized with a couple big plays of their own. A 49-yard connection between Briar and Levi Fischer provided the spark. Briar Fischer capped the drive with a 14-yard strike to Ethan Reissing to cut it to 14-7. But De Soto would come no closer on the scoreboard. Perryville will host St. James on Friday in a short turnaround at 7 p.m.
“There’s no excuses,” Boss said. “We have to be ready.”