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BOWLING GREEN - Perrysburg started fast against Fremont Ross in a season-opener last night at Bowling Green State University's Doyt Perry Stadium.
But it came down to Yellow Jackets defensive linemen Zack Hefner intercepting a deflected pass late in the fourth quarter to set up a four-yard touchdown run by quarterback Derrick Garcia with 2:15 left in the game to give the Yellow Jackets a 20-14 victory.
The game was delayed for more than an hour due to lightning and steady rainfall played a part in both teams having a tough time holding on to the football as the game progressed.
Nonetheless, Perrysburg coach Matt Kregel commended his team for coming out on top against the Little Giants.
"I thought our kids weathered the adversity," Kregel said. "It was a sloppy game. Too many mistakes. But they really worked hard and I'm proud of our guys."
Early on, the Yellow Jackets showed plenty of offensive versatility.
Taylor Dimmerling unveiled Perrysburg's quick-strike capabilities when he broke free on a 94-yard touchdown scamper to give the Yellow Jackets a 7-0 lead with 9:15 remaining in the first quarter.
Dimmerling's race to the end zone came right after teammate Corey Szczublewski picked off a pass thrown by Ross quarterback Brad Woleslagel, who was trying to connect with wideout Terence Davis on a deep route.
Ross defeated Perrysburg 62- 14 in a meeting last season. Dimmerling helped avenge last year's loss by rushing for 168 yards on 25 carries, including the long run that gave the Yellow Jackets the early advantage.
"I love playing in this kind of weather," Dimmerling said. "We really needed this win."
Perrysburg established a controlled and steady ground attack with its second scoring drive in the first quarter. The Yellow Jackets marched 55 yards on 12 plays with Garcia capping off the five-minute drive with a three-yard keeper to make it 14-0 with 1:43 remaining in the opening quarter.
Dimmerling was well on his way to making the most of his debut as the Yellow Jackets' primary ballcarrier. He rushed for 133 yards on 10 carries in the first quarter.
Meanwhile, the Perrysburg defense, anchored by Brandon Butler, T.J. Fatinikun, Nolan Falls and Hefner, made it difficult for the Little Giants at the outset. Ross failed to record a first down in the first quarter and it wasn't until seven minutes remained in the second quarter before the Little Giants finally made a first down.
Ross' Cody Foos provided a spark when he replaced Brad Woleslagel at quarterback during the Little Giants' second drive of the second quarter. Foos ran 12 yards for a first down and connected with Ryan Croudup-Levario for a 19-yard completion down to Perrysburg's 1-yard line. Tyler Hull lunged into the end zone for a one-yard touchdown to complete the eight-play, 81 yard scoring drive with 5:09 left in the half.
Play was stopped by game officials moments later after lightning was sighted in the area. Once play resumed neither team was able to establish any offensive momentum and the Yellow Jackets went into halftime with a 14-7 advantage.
The Little Giants tied the score at 14 when Jordan Jones blocked a punt attempt by Garcia and recovered the loose ball before returning it four yards for a touchdown with just under four minutes left in the third quarter. Jones crossed the scrimmage line untouched before stretching out to block a punt by Garcia for the second time during the game.
However, the Little Giants failed to capitalize on the good field position. Foos fumbled on a keeper and Fatinikun recovered the loose ball for the Jackets.
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