It was Senior Day for 16 Peru State football seniors on Saturday. And it was a fun day for those seniors and their Bobcat teammates as they all contributed to a nice season-ending win over the visiting Graceland (Iowa) Yellowjackets.
With the win, Peru State finished the season with a 2-9 record and went 2-3 in the Heart of America Athletic Conference (Heart) North Division.
Graceland went winless on the year as they finished 0-11 overall and 0-5 in conference play.
First Quarter Action
The Bobcat defense forced a three-and-out on Graceland's first possession. However, the 'Cats fumbled the punt return and the Yellowjackets took over on the Bobcats' 41-yard line. This time, Peru State forced a four-and-out and took over on their 33-yard line. Penalties snuffed out any hope and then Peru State fumbled again and the 'Jackets recovered.
The teams would trade possessions and on Graceland's fourth possession of the quarter, they would kick a field goal from 20 yards out to take a 3-0 lead with 6:26 left in the quarter.
Again, the teams would trade possession and after Rodney Roseboro (Tampa, Fla.) returned a short punt, the Bobcats would start on their 42-yard line. J'Lon Horton (Valrico, Fla.) carried for eight yards and then lost six yards on the next play. Facing third and eight, Tylor Watts (Ridgecrest, Calif.) ran for 47 yards down to Graceland's nine-yard line. On the next play, Watts took it in for a touchdown. John Brady's (Hickman) point after was good and the Bobcats led 7-3 with 40 ticks on the first quarter clock.
Second Quarter Action
Graceland would be forced to punt after four plays, but got an excellent punt which went 72 yards for a touchback. Peru State took over on their 20-yard line for their first possession in the second quarter. Horton had back-to-back carries of 11 and 22 yards to get the ball into the Yellowjackets' territory. The Bobcats would get another rushing first down on three short carries to put the ball on Graceland's 36-yard line. Dillon Ruelas (Lincoln) would find Justin Pool (Circleville, Kan.) on a pass that went for 15 yards. Two short rushes and a Graceland offside put the ball down to the nine-yard line. Bryson Duncan (Sidney, Iowa) carried for four yards as did Watts and the 'Cats were on the one-yard line. Watts would take it in from there for his second score of the game. Brady's PAT was good and Peru State led 14-3 with 8:38 left in the first half.
The Yellowjackets did manage a first down on their next possession, but again were forced to punt. Peru State took over in Yellowjacket territory at the 49-yard line. Pool carried for six as did Horton for a first down. A Ruelas pass to Dwight Butler (Raben Gap, Ga.) looked good, but the officials waved it off. Horton would then go 17 yards down to the Graceland 20-yard line. The 'Cats were aided by a Graceland penalty and started their next drive on the ten-yard line. Horton carried for two and three yards to make it third and five. Pool would find the end zone on the next play. After Brady's kick made it through the uprights, it was now 21-3 Bobcats with 4:26 left on the clock.
On Graceland's next possession, they were forced to punt. Bryan Rose (Falls City) was able to block the punt which was recovered by Brady Stephens. The Bobcats started this drive deep in Graceland's territory at the 20-yard line. However, the 'Cats could not move it and Brady attempted a 42-yard field goal which was good. With 1:32 left in the half, the Bobcats led 24-3.
That would be the score at halftime.
Third Quarter Action
Neither team did much on either of their first possession of the second half. Peru State started their second possession of the quarter on the Graceland 33-yard line. Watts had three carries which resulted in a first down on the 20-yard line. The 'Cats could only get two more yards which forced a 36-yard field goal attempt by Brady which was good. With 8:10 left in the quarter, Peru State now led 27-3.
There would be no other scoring in the quarter as the 'Cats led by 24 after 45 minutes.
Fourth Quarter Action
To begin the fourth stanza, Luis Constantino (Varzea Grande, Brazil) forced a fumble and recovered it and the 'Cats started on the Yellowjacket 25-yard line. Pool would go in from that spot for the score. Brady's kick was good and Peru State now led 34-3 with 13:49 left in the game.
The teams would trade possessions the rest of the way with no one scoring as the 'Cats got their second win of the season.
Team Statistics
The stats do show the dominance by the Bobcats in the contest. Peru State finished with 19 first downs compared to ten for Graceland. The 'Cats did most of their damage on the ground as they piled up 297 yards rushing compared to just seven for the 'Jackets. Graceland finished the game with 63 yards passing on 9 of 29 throwing for a total yardage of 70 for the game. The Bobcats gained 15 yards through the air and finished with 312 total yards in the game.
While it seemed like there were more flags, Graceland was whistled six times for 60 yards while Peru State had five flags for 65 yards. Peru State grabbed two interceptions.
Peru Offensive Statistics
The Bobcats finished with two players who had over 100 yards rushing. Watts led the team with 149 yards on 17 carries and had two touchdowns. Horton finished with 105 yards on 21 carries. Pool added 38 yards on five carries and had two scores.
Ruelas finished one of ten passing for 15 yards and was intercepted twice.
Pool caught the only pass for 15 yards.
Peru Special Team Statistics
Dylan Allen (Grand Island) had two punts averaging 35 yards with one landing inside the 20-yard line.
Mitchell Orr (Smithville, Mo.) had three punt returns for 13 yards and two kickoff returns for 45 yards. Roseboro had one punt return for two yards and Rose added one for 14 yards.
Brady had two field goals of 36 and 42 yards. Gustavo Brochetto (San Marcos) kicked off six times for 309 yards and had one touchback. Brady kicked one time for 55 yards.
Peru Defensive Statistics
Robbie Sturdivant (North Platte) saved his best game of his career for his last one. Sturdivant had ten total tackles – three solo and added 1.5 tackles for a loss of 3.5 yards. Jordan Willis (Denver) had nine total tackles – one solo, had 1.5 tackles for a loss of six yards, and broke up three passes.
Constantino and Travis Reed (Hickman) each had seven total tackles – three solo. Constantino had one sack for a loss seven yards, 3.5 tackles for losses of 26.5 yards, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery. Reed added 2.5 tackles for losses of six yards.
Tristan Unruh (Auburn) and Ben Sode (Clermont, Fla.) each finished with five total tackles. Unruh had two unassisted tackles. Sode had one solo tackle, one sack for a loss of three yards, and two tackles for a loss of five yards.
Deiontay Dozier (Mesa, Ariz.) had three solo tackles.
Season Completed
It was the final game for sixteen Bobcat seniors. Those recognized before the game included: Michael Bullard (Nassau, Bahamas), Noah Kasborhm (Nebraska City), Victor Hubbard (Corinth, Texas), Mardarius Adams (Lakeland, Fla.), Willis, Butler, Pool, Orr, Constantino, Robert Tillman III (Detroit), Sturdivant, Watts, Jake Hausmann (Papillion), Cameron Schlender (Kearney), Dominic Montero (Tamaqua, Pa.), and Austin Rosas (Red Bluff, Calif.).