With their game well in hand against Northview on Friday, the minds of the Perrysburg coaching staff begin drifting toward a league showdown with Napoleon next week.
Leading the Wildcats by 37 points midway through the third quarter during a dismally cold and wet night, up in the dry press box the Yellow Jackets’ assistants kept tabs on Napoleon's eventual double-overtime win against Anthony Wayne.
Perrysburg, which actually trailed Northview 8-7 after one quarter, went on to dismantle the Wildcats 51-8 by scoring 44 unanswered points.
The lopsided victory sets up a battle of the only undefeated teams in the Northern Lakes League when Perrysburg (6-1 overall, 4-0 NLL) travels to Napoleon (6-0-1, 4-0) next Friday.
“The guys in the press box were keeping up with what happened in the Napoleon-Anthony Wayne game. So we knew,” Perrysburg coach Matt Kregel said. “They told us at the end of the game. We wanted both teams to be undefeated in the league.”
Perrysburg senior quarterback Steve Slocum, the NLL's leading scorer, posted another terrific performance with 297 yards of total offense. Slocum, who did of his most damage when the outcome was still uncertain, scored three touchdowns and rushed for 197 yards. He had 120 rushing yards and 94 passing yards in the first half, when Perrysburg took a commanding 31-8 lead.
The Yellow Jackets scored on their first possession with a 60-yard drive on 11 plays, capped by an eight-yard TD sweep by Slocum.
But the Wildcats (3-4, 1-3) forced two punts, then took the one-point lead on a 30-yard run by Corey Bowman. It was Northview's longest play of the night and Corey Donnelly scored on run for the two-point conversion to give the Wildcats a 8-7 lead.
“We came out not going our hardest,” Slocum said. “But then we came together as a team. Coach got us pumped up. Our leaders started stepping up, especially on defense. And on offense the O-line starting to get a big push. We were able to pick up a lot of yards.”
It took Perrysburg just 2 minutes, 39 seconds to take the lead for good as Slocum scored on a four-yard run. Slocum then made it 20-8 with a three-yard tote up the middle, capping an 85-yard drive that took 1:58.
The Yellow Jackets added another touchdown before the half as Austin Bishop scored on a 12-yard run, then Slocum drilled a 38-yard field goal for a 31-8 lead at the half.
Kregel said he was disappointed in his team's start because it couldn't generate enthusiasm. He said an intense 23-16 in over Southview last week may have had an affect.
“It's one of those things we prepared for all week — we couldn't start slow,” Kregel said. “We had to have enthusiasm and get after them. But once we got that initial shock, then we took off and went.”
The Yellow Jackets shutdown Northview quarterback Kyle Kremchek, who came into the game leading the NLL with 1,432 passing yards and 11 touchdowns. Kremchek completed 7 of 30 passes for 57 yards and two interceptions. At one point, Kremchek threw 14 straight incompletions, some due to the wet conditions and dropped balls.
“It helps playing against Southview last week because they run a similar offense and we got two weeks of practice against it,” Kregel said. “Our kids went out and executed.”
At the half, Perrysburg had amassed 334 yards of offense and held Northview to 73. Perrysburg finished with 443 yards rushing and 100 passing. Northview totaled 155 yards (98 rushing).
Mark Delas, who scored on a one-yard run in the third quarter, had 42 of his 43 yards rushing in the first half. Gus Dimmerling finished with 41 rushing yards and also had a one-yard TD. Austin Bishop (30 yards) also scored on a 12-yard run. “When you have to defend Steve Slocum it opens some things up inside for our tailbacks,” Kregel said.
Slocum, who also kicked five extra points, said next week should be “a great atmosphere.”
“Napoleon is a really good team,” Slocum said. “This sets up a huge game.”
Contact Mark Monroe at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-724-6354 or on Twitter @MonroeBlade.