NORTH POLK (0-0) at PERRY (0-0)

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Perry can erase all the memories of an 0-9 season if they can get off on the right foot tonight when North Polk visits Dewey Field.

LAST YEAR — North Polk surprised Perry with a stiff defense and offense that continually converted third downs en route to a 24-0 victory in the second week of the season. The hosts were 15-of-25 for 194 yards in the air while rushing 34 times for 120 yards and three touchdowns. Mason Russell scored twice while carrying 20 times for 95 yards with Anthony Capaldo adding a short TD dive. Perry had just 86 ground yards on 28 carries with the guests passing for 79 yards.

ABOUT THE BLUEJAYS — Perry struggled in almost every area in stumbling to an 0-9 record. The Bluejays scored only one time (from two yards out) on the ground last season, part of a ground game that totaled just 610 yards (fewest in Class 3A) on 217 carries (2.8 ypc). Mark Campos will be the featured running back, with Adan Medina moving to quarterback as Perry returns to a more up-tempo, no-huddle attack.

State track 100 dash qualifier Reece Dunlap missed almost all of last season with an injury but returns and should provide an option from the slot position while the addition of Janier Puente at tight end could create mismatches in the short passing game and over the middle.

The defense played well at times but was often simply worn down by being on the field repeatedly last season. Campos is the top returning tackler with 45 stops, with Medina (35.5), Nic Fellom (32), Brandon Juarez (30.5) and Tyler Soll (27.5) also back for the Jays.

ABOUT THE COMETS — North Polk won three of their last four games to finish 5-4 and make the playoffs last year before falling in the first round. They finished with 2,114 yards in the air and 1,168 on the ground, scoring 18 touchdowns from each mode of assault.

Capaldo should start at quarterback, but he saw only limited action last season, finishing 8-of-13 for 93 yards and two scores. Adam Moxley is the top receiver back, having pulled in 14 passes for 279 yards and five scores.

Russell is the leading rusher back for the Comets. He had six TDs and 400 yards on 93 carries in 2015.

Russell’s 43 tackles and the 40 recorded by Connor Jackson led the defense.

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