Perrysburg's Hayden Pryka sensed a big game against Anthony Wayne even before the Northern Lakes League game last night.
Pryka's premonition came true as he scored two touchdowns to help the Yellow Jackets defeat the Generals 28-16.
Pryka, a six-foot, 185-pound senior, pulled in a 48-yard touchdown pass from Matt Slocum and also returned an interception 76 yards for a TD.
'I try to come out every night looking to have a big game,' said Pryka, who intercepted two passes.
The Yellow Jackets (5-2, 3-1) overcame an early 7-0 deficit thanks to Pryka and a hard-nosed run defense that kept AW's wing-T attack in check for most of the night.
They also forced the Generals (4-3, 2-2) into turning the ball over four times (two interceptions, two fumbles).
Perrysburg coach Matt Kregel credited his defensive unit, particularly run-stoppers such as Nolan Falls, Michah Carter, Brandon Butler, and T.J. Fatinikun.
'We played well in the trenches,' Kregel said. 'We're good against the run.'
AW's David Birsen finished with 101 yards rushing on 22 carries, including a six-yard touchdown run late in the game. However, AW's offense failed to generate any consistent drives for most of the game.
'They did a good job of controlling the line of scrimmage,' Anthony Wayne coach Craig Smith said.
The Jackets' Falls said they were well-prepared to defend against the Generals.
'We put in a lot of film study and went through a lot of practice,' Falls said.
The Generals made the most of their first possession on a 10-play, 79-yard scoring drive that ended with Kevin Pindoley hitting Aaron Keyer on a 36-yard completion with 4:24 left in the opening quarter. Pindoley's touchdown pass to Keyer was the only pass attempt during the possession.
AW held on to the lead through the rest of the first quarter and for more than half the second quarter before Perrysburg tied the score late in the second period.
The Yellow Jackets needed only two plays to go 67 yards for the TD.
Brandon Butler busted through the Generals' defense on a 23-yard run to put the Yellow Jackets at AW's 48. Slocum and Pryka finished off the possession with
a 48-yard touchdown completion with 4:40 left in the first half.
The quick strike by the Yellow Jackets came moments after AW thought it had recovered a muffed punt by Taylor Dimmerling deep in Perrysburg territory.
However, officials ruled Dimmerling was down when the ball came free.
'We thought we had the ball but they said they had already blown the whistle on the play,' Smith said. 'It happens.'
The remaining minutes of the first half didn't get any better for AW. The Generals' next possession actually ended with a turnover when Pryka intercepted a Pindoley pass and returned it 55 yards to AW's 12 yard line.
Perrysburg needed only three plays to take a 14-7 lead into halftime. Butler scored on a six-yard scamper with 2:26 left in the half.
Perrysburg went ahead 21-7 when Butler blocked a punt, and Corey Julius scooped up the loose ball and carried it eight yards for a touchdown.
Ben Barrett booted a 31-yard field goal to make it 21-10 in the third quarter.
Contact Donald Emmons at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6302