By DAVID NEGIN
For the Star Beacon
PERRY TOWNSHIP — Since the start of two-a-days, Perry coach Matt Rosati had a short list of things he wanted his team to focus on in preparation for the 2013 season and, in particular, it’s opening matchup against neighborhood rival Riverside.
Behind a punishing defense and a pair of touchdowns by quarterback Ryan Kahoun, Rosati can safely check off each of those things as his Pirates downed Riverside, 22-8, at Alumni Stadium on Friday night.
“It was very, very important for us,” Rosati said of the win. “Our boys came out and they played really, really hard. They played with a lot of pride, and they played with a lot of passion. I’m very proud of them. We started six sophomores on defense and they played pretty darn well.”
The veteran coach had much reason to praise his unit. Jones, an explosive junior, was held to just 19 yards (12 attempts). In all, Riverside totaled a minus-26 yards rushing for the game and just 9 first downs. The Pirate defense also had seven sacks and several other quarterback pressures, including a hard hit on Brubaker while he was throwing a pass early in the second quarter that injured the senior quarterback’s shoulder, knocking him out of the game.
“We knew Marcus Jones was a tremendous back, and we worked really from the beginning of two-a-days all the way through working on trying to figure out ways to slow him down,” Rosati said. “Them losing their quarterback obviously hurt them, but we knew going in that we had to stop them from running the football.
“He was out for a reason,” he added. “We went after him (Brubaker), as well. We zoned blitzed and I thought we had a really good defensive scheme for them.”
Perry capatilized on several Riverside mistakes in the game, including taking an early 2-0 lead when a bad punt snap by the Beavers went out of the back of the end zone for a safety.
On the ensuing drive, Kahoun fumbled a snap from the shotgun, picked it up and raced past a gritty Riverside defense that overran the ball trying to recover it. The result was a 37-yard touchdown run, giving the hosts an 8-0 advantage.
Riverside followed with its only scoring drive of the game, capped by a 6-yard run by Brubaker and a 2-point conversion pass by Brubaker to senior Joe McDonald, knotting the score at 8.
Brubaker was injured on Riverside’s next possession, and coupled with 15 penatlies, including one that nullified a kickoff return for a touchdown, Riverside could not get anything going offensively.
“Our game plan was to space it out and do some different things,” Riverside coach Dave Bors, who also lamented his team’s penalties, said. “When Maxx went down, that greatly changed our game plan. We knew they were going to try and take Marcus away. Give them credit.
“(We have) no excuses, though,” he added. “Perry beat us. They were beating us when Maxx was in there, he went down, and obviously, (that gave them) a little momentum. They still executed and we did not. We still had plenty of playmakers on the field.”
Perry accumulated 294 yards in total offense. Kahoun was the leading rusher (18 carries, 113 yards), including another touchdown (6-yard run midway through the fourth quarter) that put that game away. Senior Zakary Hurd added 67 yards (8 carries), and junior Kyle Kremiller, who Rosati identified as the “heart-and-soul” of his team and an “unsung hero” netted 64 yards (10 carries).
Negin is a freelance writer from Madison.