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Les WillseyStaff Writer, AIA365.com firstname.lastname@example.org
Queen Creek FB triumphs over Perry in interdivision battleSep 7, 2012
The third week of the prep football season was a checkup for Queen Creek and Perry. Just how good were they after two weeks of victories over teams which posted a combined 0-4 mark?
We know a little more after Friday night as Queen Creek clearly was the better squad, putting a 41-21 beating on host Perry at John Wrenn Stadium.
Queen Creek, a solid Division III (4A) playoff team each year, improved to 3-0. After a slow start and a turnover that cost it seven points and led to a 14-6 first-quarter deficit, the Bulldogs showed their teeth. They outscored Perry 27-0 from the final minute of the first quarter through the first two minutes of the fourth. They dominated in the second half, cranking out three sustained drives and picking off three Perry passes. Those facts meant Perry's defense was on the field much longer.
"I was happy the way we played and fought in the first quarter,," Queen Creek coach Joe Germaine said. "I was really happy with how we played the rest of the way, and how we finished."
Perry (2-1) didn't have an answer for stopping Queen Creek's offense, especially the final three quarters. Queen Creek got three touchdown passes from quarterback Carson Jones (16-of-30 for 190 yards), two rushing TDs from running back Matt Guida (180 yards on 16 rushes) and two TDs apiece from wide out Gabe Vasquez (8 catches for 90 yards) and receiver-defensive back Mike Graff. Graff caught a TD pass and returned an interception 45 yards for a score with 5:32 to play to turn out the lights on Perry.
Perry took advantage of a Queen Creek fumble on its first play from scrimmage at the Queen Creek 28. A few plays later quarterback Austin Nightengale hooked up with Taelon Parson for a 24-yard TD pass with 6:57 left in the period.
Guida broke off the the first many long runs -- a 23-yard TD jaunt to pull the Bulldogs within 7-6. Perry responded with its only quick-strike moment with Reggei Blader breaking away for a 38-yard TD for a 14-6 advantage.
"The turnover and that run, that's what kept us going," Perry coach Preston Jones said. "Their offense isn't fancy, but it's efficient. They have some good, hard-nosed football players."
Jones and his staff prepared for Queen Creek as a run-team first and had success early keeping Queen Creek in check.
"We were fairly successful early in the game," Jones said. "But in the second half they did whatever they wanted."
Queen Creek took momentum and a 19-14 lead to halftime with an 83-yard drive in the final 2:32 of the second period.The Bulldogs had pulled to within 14-12 on a Jones-to-Vasquez TD pass midway through the second period.
Jones did most of the damage through the air on the go-ahead march, but a 22-yard run by Guida on a third-and-22 kept the drive alive. It culminated with Jones second TD hookup of the night -- 17-yards -- to Graff with four seconds left in the half
Queen Creek scored 14 points off its first two interceptions in the second half -- one each by Luis Moreno and Colton Moore) to make it 33-14. Perry's only big play of the second half -- a 46-yard TD run on fourth-down by Kenny Lewis -- gave Perry some life. Lewis finished with 115 yards on 13 carries.
Down 33-21, Perry stopped Queen Creek on its next possesssion with an interception inside its own 10. But Graff ended all doubt of the outcome with his TD-interception return.
Queen Creek's offense was impressive with its ability to run and throw. With a tick over 300 yards rushing and 190 throwing, Germaine hopes it continues.
"You need to be able to do both on that side of the ball," Germaine said. "We played really well. Even on balls that weren't caught or overthrown, the ball was where it was supposed to go. .... We want to take this start and go with it."