Girard gets another shot at Perry

Girard nearly missed making it to round two of the Division IV playoffs after Saturday night’s closely contested 34-30 victory over Youngstown East. The Indians were able to overcome five turnovers and a three-point deficit to move on to the Region 13 semifinal Saturday against Perry at Ashtabula Lakeside.

“We are proud of our kids, and what they were able to overcome,” Girard coach Pat Pearson said. “I think that the toughness and the character and the grit that our boys showed staying in that game after all of the turnovers. Everything went bad in the third quarter, and they showed their true colors. They came out in that fourth quarter, and I don’t know if I have been more proud of a group of young men.”

Things looked optimistic for Girard in the early going, but the game turned for the worse for the Indians. Turnovers and hard play allowed East to make a run, and quickly cut into a 21-point lead that was held by Girard at one time.

“They (East) have a heck of a team,” Pearson said. “They are explosive everywhere. They capitalized on some mistakes. We had some turnovers, and a couple of them they caused with some big hits.

“They jarred that ball loose, and once they got that momentum going, it took us a while to get our feet back in the ground and get back in the game.”

Moving into this week’s game, Girard will have to clean things up, and cut down on the mistakes.

“Obviously, you have to take care of the football,” Pearson said. “They weren’t mental mistakes, they were physical mistakes. A couple of them, their kids made great plays punching the ball out.

“Obviously we have to clean up our special teams snapping, and covering kickoffs. Our kids worked hard. Hopefully we go out and play a mistake free game, because we are certainly going to need it this week.”

Girard will be viewed as the underdog, as it takes on the region’s No. 1 seed in Perry.

“Our computer system does a really good job of rewarding teams for, not only winning games, but also for the quality of the games they won,” Pearson said. “Those guys that get that 1,2,3, or 4 seeds, those are well-earned.”

“It always stays the same with us,” he said. “We are just trying to get better every day, and try to take care of our business. Our motto around here is we are going to reach our full potential. That is what we are going to do this Saturday night.

“We are going to play Girard football. We are going to play fast, we are going to play physical, and we are going to play as a family. We are going to go out there and make our community proud, and hopefully we do enough to get the job done.”