Comets blank visiting Bluejays in non-district tussle

Perry senior Gage Welch runs off left tackle against host North Polk during their non-district contest Friday.

ALLEMAN — North Polk’s spread offense proved quite the challenge for Perry Friday. The Comet defense more than held up their end of the bargain as well, allowing North Polk to shock the Bluejays with a 24-0 victory in their non-district meeting Friday.

The win lifted the Comets to 1-1 overall and avenged a 34-21 loss at Dewey Field last season. Perry fell to 0-2 with the setback.

Neither team was able to move the scoreboard in the first quarter, but North Polk began the second quarter deep in Perry territory. Bluejay linebacker Mark Campos made a key play with a sack of Comet quarterback Max Karpinske that helped keep the hosts out of the end zone and forced them to settle for a Carter Hartwig 29-yard field goal.

Perry linebacker Mark Campos sacks North Polk quarterback Max Karpinske in the second quarter of their non-district meeting in Alleman Friday.
Perry linebacker Mark Campos sacks North Polk quarterback Max Karpinske in the second quarter of their non-district meeting in Alleman Friday.

The Bluejay offense sputtered throughout the contest, as quarterback Ryan Rathje was afforded little time to pass while the running game found few openings in the Comet defense.

Karpinske missed most of the second period after taking a hit from Perry defensive tackle Joe Olvera, but his replacement, Anthony Capaldo, was able to push the score to 10-0 with 4:16 left in the half by squirting free for a six-yard touchdown run.

Perry was forced to punt on their next possession, with North Polk taking over on their own 20-yard line. The Comets had converted several long third down plays and had once succeeded on fourth down in keeping a drive alive when they made the questionable decision to forego a punt and try to convert from the Perry 23 with just over a minute left on the clock.

The Bluejay defense held, with the offense quickly marching the ball toward the end zone. Perry ran to inside the Comet five, but two additional carries moved the ball only to the 1-yard line with just over 20 seconds left in the half. The Jays hustled to the line, but were flagged for a five-yard motion penalty.

Perry defensive tackle Joe Olvera wraps up North Polk's Michael Ballard in the early stages of their non-district tilt in Alleman Tuesday.
Perry defensive tackle Joe Olvera wraps up North Polk’s Michael Ballard in the early stages of their non-district tilt in Alleman Tuesday.

Ivan Garcia was brought on to attempt a 23-yard field goal, but the snap was mishandled and Perry came away without any points.

“Not getting anything was definitely a momentum killer,” Perry head coach Jason Olejniczak said. “If we get a touchdown, or even a field goal, we go into the locker room feeling positive and with something to build on. Instead, we went in on a down note and then came out and really laid an egg in the second half.

“I thought our pass coverage was pretty good for the most part and our special teams — if you take away the field goal try — was much better than it was last week,” he said. “It is hard to say without looking at game film what else we may have done well. I am sure one or two players had decent games, but overall we were simply not very good tonight.”

Perry was moving the ball effectively in the third quarter when North Polk recovered a fumble on their own 35. The ensuing drive was capped by a Mason Russell 12-yard TD run, giving the hosts a 17-0 lead with 6:48 to play in the period.

Russell found the end zone again late in the quarter with an easy five-yard stroll off left end that pushed the score to 24-0 and visibly deflated the Perry sideline.

The teams traded possessions for the remainder of the game as the score stayed unchanged for the final 12:33.

Rathje was 7-of-15 for 79 yards in the air while throwing one interception. Taviar Lucas led the squad with 49 yards on four receptions, with Marcus Meri snaring one pass for 19 yards.

Senior reserve Gage Welch made the most of his time in the backfield by turning eight carries late in the contest into a team-best 49 yards rushing. Eli Saemisch ran 13 times for 29 yards to aid the cause, but Perry finished with only an unofficial 73 yards on 29 rushes.

North Polk had 173 yards in the air and added 105 on the ground.

Campos led the Perry defense with 13 tackles, with Nic Fellom and Solomon Pierce adding 11 stops apiece while Adan Medina had 10 denials.

Perry will finish the non-district portion of their schedule by hosting Gilbert Friday at Dewey Field. The Tigers silenced the Jays, 35-0, last season.


at Alleman, Sept. 4

Team    1   2   3   4 — Final
PRY       0   0   0   0 —  0
NP        0  10  14  0 — 24

Scoring by Quarters
Second Quarter
NP — FG Hartwig 29, 11:04.
NP — Capaldo 6 run (Hartwig kick), 4:16.
Third Quarter
NP — Russell 12 run (Hartwig kick), 6:48.
NP — Russell 5 run (Hartwig kick), :33.4


  1. Lets go coach we have to get these guys more motivated and fired up. Spread offense mite help. Qb has a rocket arm lets see him air it out more Tight ends and receivers way to talented. Undefeated the rest of the way!!! We need a spark coach.Lets go guys!!!

  2. North Polk’s kicker and DE Carter Hartwig is the grandson of Perry High Graduates Nolan Hartwig (’58) and Nancy Hartwig (’59) and the great grandson of Bernard and Trecile Miner, lifelong Perry residents.

  3. North Polk number 34, Mason Russell, 10th grade starting linebacker and running back is the grandson of Virgil Reiter, class of 1960.


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