A 71-yard fourth quarter fumble return by Plattsmouth grad Curtis Larsen iced a 21-7 win for the Peru State football team last Saturday.
Offensively, the Bobcats were led by Ethan Bray of Liberal, Mo., who rushed for 102 yards and had one touchdown. Tyler Audsley of Prescott Valley, Ariz. had Peru State’s other touchdown on a 34-yard run.
The contest was definitely a defensive battle with Peru State winning the total yardage statistic 209 to 207. Graceland was held to just five rush yards on the day and turned the ball over three times, twice by fumble and once by interception.
Tackle leaders for the Peru State defense were Jake Kelley of Beggs, Okla.; Shane Lloyd of Ridge Crest, Calif.; Logan Paben of Columbus; Jon Draeger of Syracuse-Dunbar-Avoca; Briar Burr of Wood River; and Zach Lempka of Sterling.
Peru State Coach Steve Schneider said the defense was definitely the catalyst for the Bobcats on Saturday.
“The defense beat them down and kept them guessing all day,” said Schneider. “Hats off to all of them, including Coach Varley and Coach Mizerski and the rest of the staff.
“I just can’t say enough about the defense as they held Graceland down rushing and if you cannot run the ball in this league, it will be tough for a team.”
With the win, the Bobcats moved to 1-0 in Heart of America Conference play and 3-0 overall. It was the first time in three tries that Peru State has beaten Graceland. With the loss, the Yellow Jackets fell to 1-2 overall and 0-1 in league play.
In addition to improving its record, the Peru State football team has also earned its first top 25 ranking since 2005. Peru State is ranked 23rd this week after being one of the teams receiving votes in the initial poll last week.