The Perryville defense stepped up time and time again and the offense made enough big plays to push the Panthers past Brunswick 14-3 to give coach Sean Sandora his 50th career win at Perryville and a date in the MPSSAA Class 1A semi-finals.
The key sequence came with the team leading 7-3 just before halftime and Brunswick was threatening inside the 10-yard line. The Panther defense -led by the efforts of Timmy Bartra, Jaimer Gui, Sidney Phillips and Sam Christian among others – were able to repel the visitors and keep the four-point lead at halftime.
That first score came on a touchdown pass from quarterback Zach Clarke to Daniel Tserkis. The final touchdown of the second half came when Clarke found Caedon Kestner for another touchdown pass. Clarke made both PAT kicks as well.
“Daniel (Tserkis) has really stepped up as a leader,” Sandora said. “His timing with (quarterback) Zach (Clarke) has really been able to shine lately.”
It was a night when the offense was not always clicking with a dreadful five turnovers on the night – yet the Panther defense evened things out by forcing five turnovers of their own.
“We just played really good defense and didn’t let them capitalize on our mistakes,” Sandora said. “Both teams having five turnovers – it was a very weird game in that way.”
Now, Perryville travels to Mountain Ridge next Friday for the semi-finals. The Allegaheny Conference champions defeated Forest Park, 55-20.
They are a very tough team, they run a spread offense,” Sandora said. “It is something we saw against Bohemia Manor and Patterson Mill.”
Sandora and the Panthers will be looking to make it to the a state finals berth the eluded them in 2019 when they lost in the semi-final round.
“You can never take anything for granted and just have to take it one game at a time,” Sandora said. “We just have to give our best effort and see what happens.”