PERRY TOWNSHIP —
It goes without saying the Perry Pirates were more than a bit disappointed in the 34-6 beating they absorbed at the hands of archrival Madison last week in the annual grudge match for possession of the Little Brown Jug at Alumni Stadium.
That having been said, though, there’s no time for coach Matt Rosati’s Pirates to hang their heads after their first loss of the season, not with the Orange Lions looming around the next bend.
Perry (2-1) will invade Pepper Pike to take on an Orange squad that is off to a 3-0 start, a kickoff to the season that has seen the Lions average 43.0 points per game in conquering Bay, 34-26, Beachwood, 60-50, and Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy, 35-34.
“This is the 25th year I have coached against the Orange Lions and this is the best team in, my opinion, that they have ever had in that time period,” Rosati said. “They have a great quarterback and excellent skill.
“They are extremely fast and talented and will cause us a great deal of trouble.”
Perry has dominated the series, winning 16 of 17 games since 1939, the exception being a 9-6 triumph by the Lions two years ago in Pepper Pike. Perry bounced back with a thrilling 38-33 triumph last fall at Alumni Stadium.
“They run a no-huddle offense and throw the ball 60 percent of the time,” Rosati said. “Steve Borgman is a great quarterback and he has Dae’Shawn Henderson as a running back and excellent wide receivers in Chris Von Hendrix and Rayshawn Watkins.
“They run a 3-4 on defense and are very active.”
Rosati admits the loss to Madison was very much a kick in the teeth.
“We are very disappointed... we felt that we made some key mistakes that took us completely out of the game,” he said. “It really came down to a few things. We score and were winning, 6-0. We had them backed up on their own 6 yardline, facing a third and 16. They ran a trap for three yards, we were called for a facemask penalty — 15 yards, first down.
“Same drive, third and 12... pass interference — first down. Same drive, late hit, 15 yards. They score and go up, 7-6.”
But wait, there’s more.
“First play after score for us, Zack Hurd goes 80 yards untouched — holding flag, extremely late,” Rosati said. “We get stopped, punt and on third and 8, we have a clear shot at the quarterback, but miss and he throws a TD to go up, 14-6, at half.
“In the second half, we get stopped and have to punt into a very strong wind — 13-yard punt. We stop them, but fumble at our 10 yardline. They score and go up, 21-6. Same thing... we get stopped and have a 17-yard punt and they score at the end of third quarter.
“The bottom line is, penalties killed us and we could not overcome the wind.”
But, that was then, and Orange — and beginning of Chagrin Valley Conference play — is now.
“We cannot give up big plays to this team,” Rosati said. “They have the ability to go 80 yards at any time. We have to control the ball on offense and limit how many snaps they get.
“We have to really outplay them in the area of special teams to have a chance to beat them.”
And as far as play in the Chagrin Division of the CVC goes, Rosati is steadfast in his beliefs.
“Aurora is one of the top teams in the state in any division,” he said. “Every team in our conference could make the playoffs.”