Perry football head coach Jason Olejniczak knew his team would have their hand full when undefeated Webster City — ranked third in one poll, fifth in another — visited Dewey Field Friday. He also knew that avoiding giving up the “big play” would be critical if the Bluejays were to entertain hopes of an upset.
For almost entire first half Olejniczak received the kind of defensive effort he had hoped for, save the three plays that allowed the Lynx to post a 21-0 halftime lead en route to a 42-6 win in the Class 3A District 2 tussle.
“We played them pretty well in the first half and were making them work hard to move the ball, but they got three big plays to change the game,” Olejniczak said. “We let them hit us with a pass (a 23-yard first quarter touchdown) and you cannot let a team like that complete any passes. Then they a long run and another run to set up their third score and we were in trouble.”
Breaking down one play with three photos. To see how Perry scored their lone touchdown, flip through this three-part series.
Quarterback Avery Fuhs was just 1-of-5 through the air, but his 23-yard connection with Alec Fuhs gave the Lynx (8-0, 5-0) a 7-0 lead after one quarter of play.
Perry (0-8, 0-5) had looked crisp moving the ball and marched deep into Webster City territory in the second quarter before turning the ball over on downs at the Lynx 23-yard line.
It was from that same line of scrimmage that the Fuhs-to-Fuhs connection had resulted in six points while the Lynx were pointed to the west end zone. Now, facing the east end zone, 6-foot-1, 230-pound senior running back Gavin Dinsdale broke loose off the left end and dashed 77 yards for six more points. Landon Daniels’ PAT boot made the score 14-0 and dealt a blow to Perry’s morale.
“It would have been one thing if we had made them use a bunch of time and have to fight their way down the field, but to give up the big run right after we had been moving the ball really hurt,” Olejniczak admitted. “We kept fighting, but that one hurt.”
Dinsdale added a three-yard TD run with 3:12 left in the half to set the halftime score, the fifth time Perry has trailed by at least three scores at the intermission.
Speedy wingback Payton Kannaun scored on an 11-yard run 79 seconds into the second half, with an eight-yard Dinsdale dive with 7:12 on the third quarter clock moving the score to 35-0 and setting in motion a continuous clock.
The 5-7, 140-pound Kannaun hid behind pulling blockers, then stepped into the open and sprinted 55 yards for a 42-0 Lynx lead with 2:06 left in the third quarter.
“Once we got tired on defense we started losing our eye discipline and quit reading our keys,” Olejniczak said. “We just got physically and mentally tired in the second half and good teams will do that to you.”
Perry avoided being shut out for the fourth time this season when Jacob Thompson won a leaping duel with Zane Carter to tip, and then pull in, a 29-yard TD pass from Wyatt Halling with 3:41 left to play.
Webster City ran for 356 yards on 45 carries, with Dinsdale (22-184) and Kannaun (8-123) doing the majority of the damage.
Perry managed only 40 yards on the ground on 21 rushes, with Eli Saemisch (10-20) the only one of six Bluejay rushers to reach double-digits in yards gained.
Ryan Rathje was 10-22-1 for 92 yards passing, with Halling 2-for-2 for 35 yards and a score while Taviar Lucas completed one pass for no gain.
Thompson had three catches for 38 yards and Perry’s TD, with Lucas snagging four balls for 18 yards. Adan Medina (1-34), Saemisch (2-19), Nic Fellom (1-6) and Marcus Meri (1-6) also had receptions.
Joe Olvera led the defense with eight tackles, with Alonzo Zarate (7.5) and Saemisch (6.5) among the other leading tacklers. Tyler Soll had a fumble recovery for the Jays.
Perry’s season ends next Friday with a visit from Humboldt (3-5, 2-3), who stepped out of the district to top Forest City, 34-20, Friday. The Pirates had D2 wins of 54-27 over Boone and of 14-0 against a Daric Whipple-less Greene County while falling to Webster City by only a 20-6 margin.
“Being successful means people are making plays and that is what we have been looking for all year: someone to step up and make a play,” Olejniczak said. “I expect someone will do that for us next week, because I expect us to play hard.
“For the most part we have maintained our enthusiasm and stayed positive despite all that has happened,” he added. “We will put in a good week of practice and I look for us to play hard, because I know the guys want to finish with a win.”
Class 3A District 2
No. 5 WEBSTER CITY 42, PERRY 6
at Dewey Field, Oct. 16
Team 1 2 3 4 — Final
WC 7 14 21 0 — 42
PRY 0 0 0 6 — 6
Scoring by Quarter
WC — Alec Fuhs 23 pass from Avery Fuhs (Daniels kick), n/a.
WC — Dinsdale 77 run (Daniels kick), 6:56.
WC — Dinsdale 3 run (Daniels kick), 3:12.
WC — Kannaun 11 run (Daniels kick), 10:41.
WC — Dinsdale 8 run (Daniels kick), 7:12.
WC — Kannaun 55 run (Daniels kick), 2:06.
PRY — Thompson 29 pass from Halling (kick failed), 3:41.