2B Football: Blocked Punt Puts Pirates in Position to Top Toledo
Comeback: Adna Rallies from 14 Points Down to Claim 18-14 Home Field Victory
By Jordan Nailon
ADNA – Senior defensive end Kameron Perry waited until the final minutes of Friday night’s matchup with Toledo to turn in perhaps the biggest play of his career.
Trailing the Indians 14-12 in front of a packed stadium on their home turf, the Pirates backed Toledo up deep in their own territory and forced the visitors to bring out their punt unit with just 2:50 remaining in the contest.That’s when Perry burst through the formidable Toledo frontline and blocked the punt attempt with a perfect combination of grace and girth, laying the pigskin down gently on the one yard line for the Pirate’s offensive unit to take over.
Three plays later, Adna quarterback Conner Weed punched the pigskin across the goalline on a straight-ahead keeper to give the Pirates an 18-14 lead, and ultimately a big win in front of their home fans.
“Big time players make big time plays in big time games,” said Adna coach KC Johnson in reference to Perry’s prime-time punt block.
Perry also drew high praise from his coach for his formidable performance at his defensive end position. “He made a few nice plays out on edge where he grabbed the Wallace kid from behind and threw him down,” said Johnson. “That was huge for us. That’s what we needed out of him tonight.”
The first half was a horse of a different color for the Pirates however. In that half, Adna was outpaced by Toledo by a clip of nearly 200 yards to less than zero. The Indians also put up eight first downs in the first half while the Pirates failed to move the chains at all. The biggest discrepancy though was in the scoring column where Toledo held what seemed to be a secure 14-0 lead.
Unsurprisingly, Johnson had plenty to say to his charges during their visit to the locker room at halftime. That chat, and the ensuing changes, set the course for what wound up being a big time Pirate comeback. Johnson said his players were a little over anxious in the first half, especially after falling behind, and as a result they were over-pursuing and allowing a talented Toledo backfield to run wild.
Taking advantage of an over-extended defense, Toledo running back Keyton Wallace had a particularly productive first half, rushing for two touchdowns and 131 yards on just eight touches, including scoring scampers of 36 and 24 yards. Coleby Cherrington and Ethan Buck also contributed to the Indians effective downhill ground and pound attack, finishing with 30 and 73 yards on the ground respectively. Cherrington added two catches for 12 yards and Fano Arceo-Hansen led all receivers with two catches for 53 yards.
Despite those early Toledo gains, Johnson said his team just needed to get back to the basics of Adna football in order to interject themselves right back into the game. As it turns out, he was right. “We talked about, ‘Hey, just listen, we’ll be alright if everybody just does their job,’” Johnson recounted after the postgame salutations were through. “I think it meant an awful lot to them and we grew up a lot in that second half.”
Coming out of the half Adna forced a three and out possession by Toledo and wound up with the ball near midfield following the Indians’ punt. A few plays later Cole Fay slashed through the line to his left, made a couple of defenders miss on a hesitation, and then set off to the races for a 23-yard touchdown that pumped much needed life into the grandstands. Later in the quarter Fay would cap a 50-yard, three minute Adna drive with an eight yard touchdown rush that brought his team within two points of Toledo. Fay finished the game with 90 rushing yards on 20 working-man carries to go with his two touchdowns.
Despite the heavy workload that started early and continued often, Fay says he was never tired, especially during crunch time.
“I was excited,” insisted Fay. “We were down, but we’re never out.”
Fay said the Adna win has extra meaning for the upperclassmen on the team since the Pirates had fallen to Toledo by a just a single point two years in a row. On top of that, it’s no secret in Pirate Nation that Johnson played quarterback for Toledo back in his glory days so the Pirates held plenty of extra incentive to put on a good show Friday night.
“It means everything,” said Fay. “He (Johnson) was extra fired up this week. We may have lost the last two years but not this time. That’s all that matters tonight.”
After the game Kameron Perry was busy being mobbed by teammates, schoolmates and Adna fans of every vintage. He said he knew before the game that blocking a punt was within the realm of possibilities and on that fateful fourth quarter play, he says he just set his mind to make it happen.
“I saw pregame that he was slow on his five step drop so I was looking to get a punt block all game,” said Perry. “The last two years, losing by one point was tough so it meant a lot to come out here and get a little redemption for all these guys.”
As a former Indian quarterback who admits that he would still bleed red if you cut him open Johnson made a point to commend Toledo for their formidable performance. He even went so far as to deliver a short postgame speech to the Indians. “They gave a championship effort out there tonight. They made a fan out of me,” said Johnson. “Nobody deserved to lose this game. It was a classic.”
On Friday Adna (3-0) will travel to play Life Christian while Toledo (1-2) will host Pe Ell-Willapa Valley.
PIRATES 18, INDIANS 14
Toledo 7 7 0 0 — 14
Adna 0 0 12 6 — 18
TOL — Keyton Wallace 33-yard run (Malunat good)
TOL — Wallace 23-yard run (Malunat good)
ADN — Cole Fay 22-yard run (kick failed)
ADN — Fay 8-yard run (run failed)
ADN — Conner Weed 1-yard run (attempt failed)
Team Stats TOL ADN
First Downs 18 6
Rushing Yards 232 115
Passing Yards 65 -3
Total Yards 294 110
Comp-Att-Int 4-9-0 2-8-0
Fumbles/Lost 2/1 1/0
Penalties/Yards 3/25 3/25
Rushing: TOL — Keyton Wallace 18/140/2 ADN — Cole Fay 20/90/2,
Passing: TOL — Gannon Madill 1-4/31, Bryce Marcil 3-4/34; ADN – Conner Weed 2-8/-5
Receiving: TOL — Fano Arceo-Hansen 2/53; ADN — Co. Fay 1/7