by Malik Vincent
Perry (11-2) surrendered a chance at advancing in the PIAA Class AAAA playoffs by losing to State College (7-6), 35-26, on Nov. 26 at Cupples Stadium.
Despite an another outstanding performance by Perry’s senior quarterback Greg McGhee, the Commodores failed to convert on fourth down in their final drive and gave the champions from District XI an opportunity to move forward.
|ELUDING DEFENDERS—Perry’s Eric Frye eludes State College defenders. Fry had 10 catches for 142 yards in the Commodores 35-26 loss.
“The kids played hard,” Perry coach Bill Gallagher said. “They played of a heck of a ballgame. It obviously doesn’t feel good to lose but with the way we played you can’t help but to be proud of them.”
McGhee completed 25 of 43 passes for 310 yards and two touchdowns. He also scored two on the ground.
“He played like a warrior,” Gallagher said about his quarterback. “He read the defenses and put the ball on the money. He really showed his stuff out there.”
Perry’s defense struggled to slow down State College’s Jack Haffner, who rushed for 109 yards on 13 carries and a touchdown.
“He kept running up the sideline and towards the weak side,” said McGhee, who also starts at free safety for Perry. “We worked to correct it in the second half and we began to see some success but I guess it just wasn’t enough, unfortunately.”
Brendan Edwards began the scoring on a 72-yard touchdown pass from McGhee in the first quarter. Then, Devin Ghafoor made it 14-14 on a 10-yard strike from his senior quarterback. After 14 unanswered State College points, McGhee scored on runs of 1 and 3 yards to make it a 28-26 Perry deficit in the fourth quarter. Haffner then gave the game its final margin on a 1-yard run.
“We scouted them and we believe that we were well prepared,” Gallagher added. “They were well coached on offense. We also didn’t tackle as well as we have in the past; after all, when we don’t, we’re only an average team.
Despite losing, Perry led State College in most offensive categories, including outgaining their opponent 347-310. They also had three more first downs (15 to their 12). On the defensive side, they forced them to two turnovers, while they committed none all game.
“You win some, you lose some,” McGhee said. “Our offense played fairly well. We just weren’t able to contain them whenever it was most important.”
Undefeated Brockway handed Oliver (4-7) a loss in the opening round of the PIAA Class AA Playoffs with a dominant rushing attack by running back Chris Marshall. He rushed for 102 yards on 11 carries and led the champions of District IX to their 12th win of the season.
“That guy is a good running back,” Oliver coach Tim Keefer said. “He’s big and he can cut back.”
The Bears could not recover from a 30-6 halftime deficit after Shakeem Cox connected with Trevon Kendrick for a 57-yard score through the air. After that, it was all Brockway.
“We had the call to fill the rushing lanes,” he added. “But we didn’t tackle (Marshall) well.
Oliver, who qualified by earning the spot as the city’s best Class AA team, finished the season with a 4-4 city league record.
(Malik Vincent can be reached at email@example.com.)