Commodores stop Cougars

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By Larry Goffinet

LEOPOLD - Perry Central held South Decatur to 18 yards of total offense and got a big offensive game from T.J. Hall to beat the Cougars 30-6 in football Saturday.

The Commodores totally stopped South Decatur's running game, holding the Cougars to minus-2 yards on 25 carries.

A 20-yard loss after a bad snap on what was supposed to be a punt and two quarterback sacks - one by Dakota Huff and one by Robbie Piper - severely hurt the Cougars' rushing yardage.

But their top running back, Lincoln Hacker, gained only 35 yards on 18 carries.

Perry Central stopped the Cougars' counter plays and runs up the middle, and their backs did not appear to be quick enough to get outside against the Commodores.

"That kid (Hacker) had a little bit of quickness, but when they tried to bounce (outside), we had people in the right places," said Perry Central Coach Mike Spencer. "And when they tried misdirection in the second half, technique-wise we were pretty patient."

Sophomore Cougar quarterbacks Jordan AmRhein also had trouble connecting on passes.

He completed 2 of 13 for 20 yards and had two of his first four attempts intercepted, by B.J. Farmer and T.J. Lamon.

"I think it was a combination of their inexperience at quarterback and our defense (that caused the Cougars' passing problems)," said Spencer. "We never really got out of position--I can't think of any pass where it looked like they were going to throw over us. And we got really good play out of our defensive line."

The line put almost constant pressure on the young quarterback. Piper's chasing him down and sacking him while he scrambled on a first-down play in the third quarter was a prime example.

"I thought Piper played very well," said Spencer of the 6-foot-4, 400-pound tackle. "He's the most agile big kid I've ever had. We've had some linemen who could run, but none that big."

The Cougars were held to only three first downs. They scored their only touchdown on special teams, as Ryan Mote returned a kickoff 75 yards for a score with 1:28 left in the second quarter.

"We really didn't want to get him involved," Spencer said of the speedy Mote, who also played wide receiver. "We played him a man and a half on the backside because we didn't want him to catch the ball."

Despite South Decatur's lack of offense, the Commodores did not clinch the victory until Hall kicked a 24-yard field goal with 7:46 left in the fourth quarter to put them up 23-6.

The Cougars made a bad snap on a punt play on their next possession and were tackled at their own 4-yard line.

That set up Hall's third touchdown of the game on a 2-yard run four plays later.

Hall scored 24 points in the game, as he kicked three extra points and the field goal in addition to scoring his touchdowns.

He ran for 210 yards on 26 carries, including gains of 41 and 43 yards.

He gained a lot of his yards on power plays.

"He has learned to trust his blockers on that power and he does an excellent job of knowing where that hole's going to open up," said Spencer. "And he's such a strong runner - it's hard to arm tackle him."

Sophomore Mikey Wilkerson added 52 yards on 15 carries and quarterback Austin Hauser rushed five times for 47 yards, including a 1-yard touchdown run.

Perry Central improved to 2-0 while South Decatur fell to 1-1.

The Commodores will host Crawford County Friday at 7 p.m.