While they may not look on paper to be as tough as they have been in previous seasons, Perryville football coach Blane Boss knows that looks can be deceiving. Perryville will play their third straight game at home on Friday night when they take on Park Hills. (3-3)
“They lost a lot of good players from last year,” Boss said. “They have an All-State offensive lineman coming back along with a good running back and tight end that can cause us problems if we don’t pay attention. I don’t remember the last time Perryville has beaten Park Hills and for that reason we can’t take them for granted, no matter what their record says.”
Park Hills lost to Potosi 7-6 last Friday night, while Perryville fell to Ste. Geneieve 27-7. But the two teams do have a common opponent in Potosi that Perryville beat 10-8 earlier in the season. Boss hopes to draw some comparisons into how Potosi was able to beat Park Hills, and he thinks he found it.
“It was a real defensive game, a real slugfest,” Boss said. “I think it starts there for us this week. We have to be physical up front at the point of attack.”
The Trojans stopped Central four times in the red zone, forced three second-half turnovers, and beat the six-time reigning district champion Rebels for the first time in eight tries on Friday night. Boss hopes his team can do a lot of the same this week but it all starts on the practice field.
“We have to practice like champions,” Boss said. “Last week we practiced hard leading up to the game and I thought that we played well because of it. If we want to have the same success this week, we have to get after it in practice.”
One of the areas the Pirates must be better is inside the redzone. Perryville had two separate drives stall out inside the 20-yard line and Boss knows his team has to convert those opportunities into touchdowns if they want to have any chance for a victory.
“It’s a will and determination thing,” Boss said. “I have to put the offense in a better situation to succeed and they have to execute. We can’t get to the redzone and think that teams are just going to roll over and let us score. If anything it’s tougher to score in the redzone.”
Maybe the Pirates won’t have to be in the redzone to score this week as they found success with big plays through the passing game last week. Wide receiver Marcas Mahathath had two 30-plus yard gains on catches as the Pirates had a total of 13 passes, the most of any week this season. The once conservative Boss has seen the light through success in the passing game might utilize it going forward.
“We have to be able to throw the ball to keep other teams off balance,” Boss said. “I think that the passing game opens up the running game a little bit more and allows those holes to open and the defense not to be rushing the line so much. Drew [Hotop] has done a good job so far this season.”
Park Hills has the same type of balance that the Pirates exhibited last week. Park Hills’ Dylan Corcoran was 14-of-26 passing for 139 yards for Central – connecting five times with senior receiver Jake Casey. While running back Gage Manion finished with 74 yards on 14 carries, along with a team-high 10 tackles in defeat. Will Hopkins led Park Hills in receiving with 100 yards.
“We are going to have to be ready for anything,” Boss said. “They come at you in many different ways. We will have to be willing to defend both the run and the pass.”
Coming into the season, Boss felt that Park Hills was the team to beat in the district having run off a string of dominance.
A win will go a long way in postseason seeding and set up the victor up for a share of the MAFC title.
“The game is big for us,” Boss said. “Kennett may have the top spot in the district but every team is so similar that anybody can win on any given week. The district is wide open and if we can get the win this week I think we have a shot to get one of those top seeds.”