2021 Peru State Football Preview
The 2021 season is just about here, and the Bobcats are ready to take on the challenge of battling in one of the tougher conferences in the NAIA.
After last season only playing three total games with the rest being canceled by the COVID-19 pandemic, the 'Cats are ready for a full season of Peru State football. The first game is schedule to kick off on August 28 at 6 p.m. in the historic Oak Bowl.
The Bobcats return a good nucleus of skilled position players who were the majority of the Bobcats offense during the 2020 season. (NOTE: Please note that the class notations could potentially be off due to the fact that the players were granted an additional season due to the COVID-19 situation from last year).
The competition has already begun as fall camp started in the beginning August.
Senior Joey Dominguez (Von Ormy, Texas) returns as well as graduate student Sohail Mohsini (Brentwood, Calif.) to compete for the starting job as the Bobcats quarterback. Dominguez led the 'Cats in passing yards with 222 and passing touchdowns with three. Mohsini was second on the team with 140 passing yards and one throwing touchdown.
The Bobcats get their major threat at running back in senior returner Ki'Jana Owens (North Platte). He led Peru State in rushing attempts with 36, 240 rushing yards and one rushing touchdown. Marlon Warren (Vancleave, Miss.), senior, was third on the team in rushing yards with 56 yards on 22 attempts.
Peru State gets back their leading wide receiver from a year ago in Garry Fleming (Saint Petersburg, Fla.). Fleming, a junior, had nine catches for 123 yards and two touchdowns. The next leading wide receiver returning for the Bobcats is Garrison Dodge (Oakland). Dodge, a sophomore, caught four passes for 64 yards and one touchdown.
The big guys up front all return with a wealth of experience. Looking to see action on the offensive line are seniors Dylan Dittman (Omaha) and Joe Cervantes (Wilmington, Calif.); juniors Mario Locke (Chickasaw, Ala.), Jackson Gilbert (Omaha), and Jake Hughes (Peculiar, Mo.); sophomore Wyatt Gray (Tarkio, Mo.), and freshmen Tristan Stroup (Lincoln), and Justin Chitwood (Burlington Junction, Mo.).
The Peru State defense returners several starters. If the defense can stay healthy the experience, what they bring back on that side of the football could be a key for the 'Cats.
The leading tackler from a year ago was senior Travis Reed (Hickman) with 26 total tackles – with 14 of those being solos. The second leading tackler from a year ago was Clay Thrasher (Mandeville, La.). He is set for a big junior year as he recorded 17 total tackles in 2020.
The leaders in sacks from a year ago will all be back in action in a Bobcat uniform. Sophomore Nick Andrews (Ruston, La.), senior Ethan Skarmas (Palm Desert, Calif.), and senior Carlos Thomas (Gulf Port, Miss.) all recorded two sacks in the 2020 season.
Senior Deiontay Dozier (Mesa, Ariz.) and Thomas are set to be leaders in the secondary that led the team in interceptions a year ago. Dozier and Thomas each were credited with two on the year.
Others looking to contribute on the defensive side of the ball are senior Chance Hall (Omaha), juniors Marcus Garza (Montgomery, Texas), Michael Lombardi (Peru), David Johnson (Chandler, Ariz.), Kobe Windham (Petal, Miss.), Ben Sode (Clermont, Fla.), and Ja'Quez Davis (Tallahassee, Fla.); sophomores Jace Stewart (Slocomb, Ala.), Isaiah Murrell (Kansas City, Mo.), and Parker Gutschow (Elkhorn); and freshmen Kavon Lofton (Apopka, Fla.), Kile Bentley (Cairo), Malik Bowman (Johnson City, Tenn.), Desmond King (Orlando, Fla.), and Tyreese Schieffer (Omaha).
The special team positions are up for grabs with several looking to be one of those filling at least one of the positions. The leading contenders at this time for the kicking and punting positions respectively are Shane McInerney (La Grange, Ill.) and Quinton Hawkins (Richmond, Va.).
There were over 80 newcomers who joined the returners mentioned above with a good number of them battling for places on the depth chart.
The complete roster will be available at https://pscbobcats.com/sports/football/roster
Casey Creehan is entering his fourth year as a head coach at the collegiate level and second season as the Peru State Football Coach. Creehan went 1-2 last year with the season being dismantled by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition to Creehan, Tanner McCormick will serve as the offensive coordinator while William Fields is the defensive coordinator. Coaching assistants include Lou Varley, Justin Barnes, and Clayton Hall.
The coaching staff includes three graduate assistants – Jake Wilson, Bradly Rose, and Kareem Warren.
Barnes and Rose were former Bobcat players.
The Bobcats will prepare for the cream of the crop in the NAIA as the Heart continues to prove they are a powerhouse conference in the NAIA. The conference has three teams in the top 25 preseason rankings with two of them in the top 10.
The 'Cats look to continue to improve their record as they enter their ninth year in the conference. During their first nine years in the conference, Peru State finished: 2011: 2-8, 2012: 5-6, 2013: 7-4, 2014: 2-7, 2015: 7-4, 2016: 5-6, 2017: 7-4, 2018: 3-8, 2019: 2-9, and 2020: 1-2 (COVID).
The 2021 Heart Coaches' Preseason poll put the Bobcats in fifth in the North Division.
Another tough schedule awaits the Bobcats this fall. The ranked teams that the 'Cats will face this year two will be on the road and one will be at home.
Peru State will have five home games and six road games in the 2021 season.
The complete schedule, along with the special events planned for each game, can be found at https://pscbobcats.com/sports/football/schedule
The Bobcats will have plenty of opportunities to prove themselves as every week is a tough test. If the team will be able to stay off the injury list, they have the potential to contend highly in the Heart and gain national recognition in the NAIA.
All the Bobcats will be broadcast live on News Channel Nebraska River Country on 1600 AM and 105.5 FM.
In addition, home games will be shown by Peru State's streaming provider. Most all road games will be streamed in some manner. The www.pscbobcats.com website will have links to games and stats when available.