WAYNESFIELD — There were long runs, big passes, kickoff returns for touchdowns, fumbles returned for touchdowns, penalties, interceptions, the list goes on and on. And there was still the second half to play yet.
Seriously, in a game that featured plenty of peaks and valleys, and some downright hard-hitting football, it was the Waynesfield-Goshen Tigers who had the bigger bag of tricks in a 42-24 win over Lima Perry Friday.
“I think when something bad happened, we responded,” Waynesfield head coach Gary Spencer said. “We showed when they threw a punch, we could throw one back.”
Jerron Hennon wasted no time providing the first highlight reel as he took the opening kickoff and ran 74 yards to the Commodore eight-yard-line. Eli O’ Leary took the ball in on the first play from scrimmage to make it 6-0 Waynesfield only 23 seconds into the game.
“Jerron is giving us something extra,” Spencer said. “We are down to our third tailback. He is showing what he can do and is getting some good experience. When Roope (Metsae) gets healthy, that will be quite a one-two punch.”
The Commodores were methodically driving the ball on the answering possession, but a big penalty brought up a third-and-long. Forced to pass, Perry quarterback Corey Smith did not get enough time to pass and was sacked, forcing them to punt.
This time, the Tigers scored using their signature style, putting together a 12-play, 81-yard drive that chewed more than six minutes off of the game clock. Garret Miller culminated the drive by throwing a jump ball up for Lee Turner, who came down with the pass for the score.
Perry put its only score on the board in the first half after the Tigers tried to put together a quick drive with 1:16 in the half. Quis Woods picked off a Miller pass at the Waynesfield 31 yard line and returned it 18 yards to set up a 32-yard field goal as time expired to make the score 14-3 at the half.
It appeared Perry was on the verge of creeping back in the game on the opening possession of the second half. Caiden Dicke returned the kickoff 17-yards to the 33, and Woods broke five tackles on a 30-yard run. A 15-yard penalty was tacked on the the end of the run and the Commodores were threatening quickly at 22-yards out. Gabe Hennon quickly reversed the Tigers fortune, stepping into the backfield and wrestling the ball out of the arms of Dicke in the backfield and streaking down the sidelines for a 75-yard return. It was his second long fumble return for a touchdown in three weeks.
The teams exchanged big plays from then on out. Miller provided a 16-yard scramble and Woods again escaped tacklers for a 20-yard ramble to make the score 30-10 going into the final quarter.
Waynesfield ran up a 42-10 lead, but Woods returned a kickoff 85 yards for a score and 250-pound defensive lineman Andrew Gipson wrestled the ball out of the hands of James Elliott and lumbered 69-yards for two face-saving scores.
Not only were turnovers and penalties plentiful, it seemed they came at the most inopportune times for the Commodores in the loss.
“That has been our season,” Perry head coach Jesse Kill said. “We knew we were going to have to execute to have a chance in this game. The effort was there, but the turnovers and penalties nagged us. The good things is most of the mistakes we are making right now are coachable mistakes. We will hit the practice field next week and start working towards next weeks game.”
The Commodores turned the ball over five times and had 10 penalties for 82 yards.
Gabe Hennon again provided a solid night for the Tigers, hitting the 100 yard mark on his first carry of the second half and finishing with 136 on 17 carries. The Tigers boasted 215 yards on the ground. Hennon has broke the 100-yard mark in all four games.
Miller again provided great balance, completing his first five passes for 73 yards and finishing the night nine-for-13 for 106 yards and two touchdown passes.