T trust E effort L love

Maroons Rally Back From 14-Point Deficit To Capture Thrilling Overtime Victory

From day one when Coach Travis Cole arrived in Perry over three years ago, a significant emphasis has been placed on Trust Effort Love or T.E.L. According to Coach Cole, “T.E.L. represents the three pillars of a successful football program and is the foundation that establishes a culture of success which includes players, coaches, parents, and community.” 

Friday night, this Maroon team put on display an example of T.E.L. in action. Trailing by as many as two touchdowns for nearly the entirety of the game, they found a way to tie it up with just 11 seconds remaining in regulation, sending the game into overtime where they pulled out an exciting 39-33 victory over Fairview. In order to “snatch victory from the jaws of defeat” this Maroon team continually fought back, never gave up, trusted and believed in their teammates and coaches, and provided maximum effort. All the components of T.E.L. 

Perry got off to an uncharacteristically slow start. A Maroon offense that returned 9 starters from a team that averaged nearly 40 points per game a year ago, was held scoreless in the first half even though being inside the red zone three times. This was only the fourth time in 31 games under Coach Cole’s leadership that Perry had been held scoreless in a half. Coach Cole said, “first games are always the hardest figuring out offensive schemes since you have no game film of your opponent. At the half, I told them to continue fighting and to trust in what we do.” In other words, to borrow a quote from Remember the Titans, his offensive system is like novocaine. Just give it time, it always works. 

Although the offense struggled in the first half looking for that spark, the new look Perry defense played well. Apart from two big plays in the first quarter, a 70-yard touchdown pass and a 45-yard touchdown pass, the Fairview offense was completely shut down. Still, Defensive Coordinator Tanner Koons indicated that we can and will be a better defensive unit. Coach Koons said, “we blew some assignments, missed some tackles, and I made some wrong defensive alignment calls, however, I am proud of the way they kept fighting and the resiliency they showed. We’ll make some adjustments, keep working hard and you’ll see a defense that will get better and better.”

With storms' a brewing on the horizon, the start of the third quarter found the Maroons down 14-0 and in search of a spark to ignite their high fueled offense. The Maroons got that spark immediately, as Sophomore Brody Harbour returned the kickoff 42 yards, giving the offense outstanding field position. On two separate occasions, Mason Drake completed passes to Jace Burdick putting the ball on the 1-yard line. Then, what Fairview feared the most, happened. Lightning struck, and the fire had started. The Maroons were on the scoreboard as Blayze Hirlinger knifed his way into the end zone making the score 14-7. However, Fairview answered right back, methodically marching down the field increasing the score to 20-7. Two plays after receiving the kickoff, the Maroons were sitting on Fairview’s one-yard line as Burdick turned a short pass from Drake into a 75-yard gain. Lightning struck again when Hirlinger pounded his way into the end zone from short yardage. Hirlinger said, “I have told Coach Cole to tell me how many yards he needs, and I will go get it for him. I love playing for Coach Cole. All of our coaches are awesome.” 

With the Maroon offense heating up, the shootout appeared to be in high gear as the Maroons closed to within a touchdown 20-14 at the end of the third quarter. For a second time in a row, Fairview answered right back at the beginning of the 4th quarter and the Maroons found themselves down 27-13 with just 10 minutes remaining in the game. On their next possession, the Maroons were unable to move the ball and forced to punt. Drake’s punt pinned Fairview inside their own 10-yard line. The Perry defense came up big and forced Fairview into a three and out. Punting to the Maroons, Burdick returned the punt 35 yards to Fairview’s 15-yard line. On the next play, Drake hit Wyatt Boyd for a 15-yard touchdown pass closing the gap to 27-20. Once again, the defense gets a much-needed stop as Fairview turns the ball over to the Maroons on downs. The Maroons struck quickly again as Drake found Boyd for a 35-yard touchdown pass. With 5 minutes remaining in the game. the Maroons had knotted the score at 27. Then, with less than 2 minutes in the game. Fairview took the lead at 33-27. Fairview’s mistake was scoring too early. Leaving under 2 minutes on the clock, Perry had plenty of time to bounce back. And bounce back they did, with 11 seconds left on the clock Drake found Ethan Calhoun on a 4-yard touchdown pass making the score 33-33, sending the game into overtime.

In overtime, Perry gets the ball first and immediately, Drake finds Boyd on a beautifully thrown ball for a 10-yard touchdown pass. For the first time in the game, Perry had taken the lead 39-33. Fairview is slapped with a costly unsportsmen-like conduct penalty and instead of starting their offensive possession from the 10-yard line, they are backed up to the 25 as a result of the 15-yard penalty. Four plays later, the defense had come up big again keeping Fairview out of the end zone and securing the 39-33 victory.

Rallying to win after being down 14 points is the largest deficit a Perry team has overcome during Coach Cole’s tenure. Offensively, even after the Maroons produced very little in the first half, Mason Drake still finished the game with 419 total passing yards and 4 touchdowns. Drake’s favorite target this game, Wyatt Boyd, had 12 catches for 197 yards and 3 touchdowns. Jace Burdick, who contributed significantly in all phases of the game, caught 6 balls for 149 yards. On the defensive side of the ball, the Maroons were led by Briar Chafin with 12 total tackles, Hadyn Redus 12 total tackles, and Blayze Hirlinger with 11 total tackles.  

The Maroons return home for next week’s rivalry showdown with Blackwell, Friday, August 31st at 7:00 pm. The Maroons will look to extend their winning streak over Blackwell to10 in a row. Come out and support the Maroons and get some great entertainment.