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LEOPOLD—Perry Central will try to contain one of the state’s leading rushers when two of the top five Class A football teams in the state meet in the sectional semifinals Friday at 6:30 p.m.
The Commodores, 9-1 and ranked fifth in the final Class A state coaches poll, will host North Daviess, 9-1 and ranked fourth in that poll.
The Cougars’ offense is led by Ryan Webster, a 5-foot-9, 185-pound senior running back.
He is fifth in the state in rushing with 1,860 yards on 199 carries and fourth in scoring with 176 points on 29 touchdowns and one two-point conversion.
“He’s a good athlete,” said Perry Central Coach Mike Spencer. “He has about the same speed as Paoli’s quarterback and he has a good, low center of gravity so he’s good at changing directions.”
Perry Central held Webster to 64 yards on 26 carries in a defensive battle in last year’s sectional semifinals, though he did score the Cougars’ only touchdown in their 7-6 victory.
“He’s a little stronger and a little older this year,” said Spencer. “But we’re playing a pretty good brand of defense again. We go into this pretty confident about our ability to defend the run, though that doesn’t mean we expect to completely shut him down.
“Both teams have pretty good defenses, so I wouldn’t expect this to be a really high scoring game.”
Spencer said the Cougars are pretty quick overall. “They’re quicker than some of the people we’ve seen.”
He also said they have “pretty good size. One guard is 6-4, 330 pounds and he’s a pretty good kid.”
Besides Webster, a key offensive weapon for the Cougars is Jano Davis, a 6-2, 220-pound senior quarterback. He did not play much in the Cougars’ only loss, 14-6 to Washington, because he was recovering from an injury.
He will run the ball on what look like option plays and will throw to a variety of receivers including Webster; Jeff Tribby, a 5-11, 145-pound junior; and Cory Stuffle, a 6-1, 185-pound junior tight end.
Tribby has “good speed” and Stuffle has “decent hands,” said Spencer.
Davis is also one of the linebackers in the Cougars’ 5-2 defense, which has held opponents to 6.3 points per game.
They will also bring the strong safety or both cornerbacks up at times to put eight or nine defenders close to the line of scrimmage.
“They’re really aggressive with their linebackers,” said Spencer. “We have to be consistent in picking up their stunts.”