Perry head coach Keith Wakefield feels "awful" about his team's play, but the result is a second straight victory.

PERRY TWP. The Perry Panthers, treating the pass like the plague, outlasted an Akron East team that seemed to throw a bomb every third play Friday night.

Perry's 21-14 win featured two goal line stands and one pass.

"I told our guys all week, if Perry runs 60 plays, 58 of them are going to be runs," said East head coach Marquis Hayes. "That's normal for them."

Things didn't run nearly as well as Perry head coach Keith Wakefield wanted.

"I feel awful," he said. "I don't care what our record is. I care how we play. I'm ticked when we play like that."

Perry (2-0) took its home opener after winning at Central Catholic. East, aiming for its third playoff season in four years, lost again to a Federal League team after getting blown out at Jackson.

This was a different East.

"I don't know if we'll get hit as hard all year as we got hit tonight," Wakefield said. "I doubt it."

East expected an uptick upon the return of No. 1 quarterback Nakari Virden, who emerged from a scrimmage against Coventry with a hamstring pull. Perry's defense was riddled for nearly 300 passing yards by Central Catholic, tempting East to throw. Virden averaged more than 20 yards on his 11 completions.

Perry's offense got right down to the grind. The first three runs netted 27 yards. A 17-yard run by Dominic Vinas on fourth-and-2 led to a two-yard TD by Vinas.

East had more trouble on the first snap of its second series. A botched exchange left the ball on the turf. Perry junior Anthony Jones dove on it.

On first down from the East 25, Dion Cundiff charged around the left side for 15 yards. On the next play, Amir Betts ran 10 yards for a score.

On his third series, Virden got clobbered as he released a bomb that was caught by Deshawn Jones for a 43-yard gain. Camron Hall broke up a fourth-down pass into the end zone.

Soon after that, speedy East junior Richtell McCallister ran 44 yards for a touchdown.

East's defense forced a second straight punt. A tackle for loss by 290-pound defensive tackle Vinny Sciury set up second and long. Hall, a 5-foot-7, 140-pound sophomore, jumped a pass toward the Perry sideline for a pick six. His 15-yard TD play enabled Perry to seize a 21-7 lead with 4:30 left in the half.

Virden again completed a bomb while he was getting hit. Jones again was on the receiving end. A 41-yard gain set up a third and goal with the nose of the ball inches from the goal line.

A high shotgun snap left the Dragons with a fourth and goal from the 8. Vinas blitzed from Virden's blind side and had a clear path to a sack with 18 seconds left in the half.

At halftime, East led 151-114 in yards, but Perry was disciplined (one penalty), opportunistic and up by two touchdowns.

East lost its nose guard, 6-4, 340-pound Vincent Carpenter, to a leg issue on the first snap of the second half. Perry's run game reappeared, until Cundiff spun into a hit and fumbled.

East's Miles Cooper recovered at midfield. Virden promptly threw a deep spiral down the middle to senior Travon Walker, who caught it in stride for a 50-yard TD. It was 21-14.

Perry QB Hayden Vinas threw (and completed) his only pass late in the third quarter, but East forced a punt.

Virden's 27-yard strike to Corey Collins on third-and-10 led to a third and goal from the 4 as the third quarter ended.

On fourth and goal from the 3, George Rozier, in at quarterback, kept the ball and and was stopped short of the goal line by Max Millin and Devonte Armstrong.

It stayed 21-14, and Perry got breathing room when Cundiff, coming off a 274-yard, six-touchdown game, bulled 12 yards. East took over at midfield after a punt with 8:02 left.

Virden went right back to the deep pass, but this time Armstrong got strong position on Walker and intercepted.

East got the ball back on its own 12 with 3:12 left.

Virden threw another bomb. Armstrong made another interception.

"We took some shots," said the East coach, Hayes. "We hit on some. We missed on some."

Perry ran. And won.

 

Reach Steve at 330-580-8347 or steve.doerschuk@cantonrep.com

On Twitter: @sdoerschukREP