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Perry has advantage this time against Girard

PERRY — There won’t be a return trip to the Division IV state championship game for the Girard Indians.

The Indians ran into a buzzsaw against the Perry Pirates Saturday night at Alumni Stadium on the campus of Perry High School, as they fell 48-7 in the opening round of the Division IV, Region 13 playoffs.

“I’m really proud of our kids,” Girard coach Pat Pearson said. “We were coming off a big year last year. Everyone was counting us down and out before the year even started. We battled all year. We got ourselves in this position.

“That’s a really good team we played tonight. We didn’t make plays to allow ourselves to be in this game. I don’t take anything from them, they are a heck of a football team.”

It was the third straight year these teams had met in the playoffs with the teams splitting the first two matchups.

The Pirates (11-0) scored on five of their six first-half possessions. They had 231 yards of offense in the first half to just 104 for the Indians.

Girard (6-5) did itself no favors with two fumbles and an interception that set up a Perry score and denied them two chances to cut the deficit in the second quarter.

Perry had possessions that started at the Girard 33, 26, 33 and 36, and its own 49. The Pirates’ worst starting position was at their own 3, but they scored in 35 seconds right before the half to put an exclamation point on the first half.

“We were focused and ready to come back and revenge last year’s loss,” Perry coach Matt Rosati said. “I think we came out and played pretty darn well.”

Quarterback Drew Schiano was responsible for four out of the six scores as he had two running and two passing with a stat line that read 118 yards passing and 41 rushing in that first half.

“Drew is having a great year,” Rosati said. “He’s one of the best players in the state of Ohio. He really came out and played well and dominated.”

On their opening possession of the game, the Indians decided to roll the dice and go for it on fourth-and-one from their own 33.

It was a precursor to where the night was going with four fumbles in which two were lost.

“That’s what we do,” Pearson said. “We play like that. We go for it. We have trust in our offense. That’s our style. We knew we had to take some chances tonight and try to steal a couple of possessions.”

Perry got on the scoreboard two plays later when Schiano ran it in from 18 yards out to make it 7-0 a minute into the game.

Girard punted on its ensuing possession and Perry scored four plays later on Schiano’s eight-yard pass to Devon Holbert to make it 14-0 at the 5:59 mark of the second quarter.

After falling behind 28-0, the Indians marched the ball from their own 35 to the Perry 38 only to see Andrew DelGarbino’s pass intercepted by Holbert at the 3-yard line.

The Pirates scored four plays later to make it 35-0 midway through the second quarter.

Girard again moved the ball from its own 20 to the Perry 11 only to see a fumble on the next play inside the 5 recovered by the Pirates.

“At times we played well,” Pearson said. “Offense moved the ball and then shot themselves in the foot. Defense, we got them in some third downs. They got the ball in space and we didn’t make plays.”

Injuries derailed the Indians’ big three with Jimmy Jones, Morgan Clardy and Andrew DelGarbino going down in the game. Tyler Maddox stepped in and rushed for 116 yards on 29 carries for the Indians.

“Our senior group really did a great job this year,” Pearson said. “They could have laid on what it was last year. A lot of them made big plays last year. This is three years in a row being in the playoffs. It’s the first time in history ever doing that.

“We talk about after our good years, we have to gap and hopefully we did this year. I’m proud of these guys sticking together. We lost three really close games. Kids just fought hard. They earned the right to be called a special group.”

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