SAEGERTOWN — The Saegertown Panthers are on a roll, as they picked apart the Iroquois Braves in their 20-0 Region 2 opener at home Friday.

Panthers everyman Drew Perry sums it up thusly:

“We made them one-dimensional, and that’s what we need to do with every team,” Perry said.

The Saegertown senior tight end/defensive end caught a pass for 64 yards — the team’s longest play from scrimmage — and recovered two of three Iroquois lost fumbles in the win.

Head coach Ken Achenbach echoed his sentiments about the overall game plan.

“Stopping the run, in the first half, was big,” he said. “Once we continued to do that, we knew they were going to become one-dimensional. I think that’s what happened.”

The Panthers held the Braves to just two first downs in the first two periods, both of which came on passes.

Iroquois quarterback Andy Wallen became more and more inclined to air it out as desperation set in, but finished with only three completions in 16 attempts for 52 yards and one interception.

Achenbach was aware of Wallen’s talents with his arm, so he made sure the Cats’ defense was ready to not only cover the pass, but apply plenty of pressure.

“We knew coming in that they could spread the field,” he said. “(Wallen) is very good. We had to do some things coverage-wise to account for him in particular. I think the difference is, we were able to get some heat on him.”

The defensive line accounted for many of the incompletions, balls which Wallen was forced to sail out of bounds to avoid the sack.

“We’re pretty quick up front,” Achenbach said. “I think they’re bigger than us, as most teams will be. But (we) do get off the ball pretty well.

“(We) gave (Iroquois) several different looks up front. We weren’t sitting in one look more than a couple plays in a row. I think that had something to do with it.”

“We shut them down,” Perry said. “Our defensive line put a lot of pressure on the quarterback, and we made him throw it away a few times. The secondary did a really good job of covering as well.”

Saegertown scored on its third possession of the first quarter, as wide-receiver-turned-running-back Cody McCray found a seam off left tackle and trotted in untouched for a 38-yard score.

In the second quarter, Sean Catalano caused a fumble with 9:01 on the clock, and Marshall Bridger scooped it up to put the Panthers back in possession.

Saegertown drove from its own 49-yard line down to the Iroquois 1 with a first-and-goal. Quarterback Zach Beatty punched it in on a sneak to make it 14-0 after the Matt Bras kick.

At the half, Iroquois had no first downs rushing and two receptions for 38 yards.

The Braves threatened late, but Perry scooped up a fumble by Wallen on a low snap out of the shotgun to halt the drive.

The second half opened with the Panthers starting on their own 37.

After driving to the Iroquois 4-yard line with the aid of the Beatty-Perry hook-up, on second-and-goal, running back Ian Price galloped in for the final score.

The Bras kick was off the mark, making it 20-0.

In the fourth quarter, Iroquois returner Jeff Harvey attempted a fair catch but the ball slipped through is hands.

Perry seized the opportunity again.

“Drew Perry is exhausted,” Achenbach said. “He played a whale of a game on both sides of the football.”

Perry was pretty matter-of-fact about his outstanding performance.

“The one (fumble), the quarterback just dropped it and I went in and got it,” he said. “The other one, it was a punt. He fair caught it, and I just backed off, kind of. He just dropped it, and I just jumped on it and the team covered me up.”

Price rushed for a game-high 100 yards on 14 totes, followed closely by workhorse fullback Kyle Crum with 95 on 20 carries.

McCray, who never played running back until this season, chipped in 71 on 10 takes.

“Cody’s a nice surprise,” Achenbach said. “We started to fool around with him a little bit and found out he had some good wheels. We felt like he might give us that extra speed we needed.”

React to this story:


Recommended for you