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Perry outlasts DuBois in a Saturday thriller

Written by: on Saturday, October 24th, 2009


PITTSBURGH – The best comparison to the Perry-DuBois game could be that of a sandwich.


It started fast, then slowed considerably, then ended at a breakneck, frenetic pace.  In the end, the Commodores were the ones left standing.


Perry (6-2) outlasted a very game DuBois (4-4) team when Greg McGhee scored the winning touchdown with :03 left in the fourth quarter for a dramatic 32-27 victory from Cupples Stadium on the south side of Pittsburgh.


“It was a great high school football game,” said Perry head coach Bill Gallagher.


Early on, the game appeared to be a laugher.  Perry jumped to a quick 14-0 lead courtesy of a McGhee 32-yard run and a Richard Lowry 21-yard jaunt. 


At that juncture, Perry had run for 63 yards as a team, recovered a muffed punt, and jumped on top of a Cam Kelly fumble.


“Yeah, (they’re quick),” DuBois head coach Jeff Shilala said of Perry.  “But we’ve also played Erie Prep, and they’re very fast.”


DuBois wasted little time in busting the Commodores’ hopes of a shutout.  Quarterback Josh Means hit Kelly on a 58-yard touchdown pass, halving Perry’s lead to 14-7.


Perry led 17-7 through one quarter, but the game drastically hit the brakes, and the anticipated track meet turned into a slugfest.  DuBois couldn’t slice into Perry’s 10-point lead, which jumped to 20-7 when John Dubensky nailed a 31-yard field goal with 5:25 left in the opening half.


Dubensky’s field goal capped a 12-play drive that drained over six minutes of game clock.


While Perry’s ground game was rolling (114 first half rushing yards), DuBois couldn’t really get much going.  Take away Means’ 58-yard touchdown pass, and the Beavers had a mere 30 yards of offense in the first half and just one first down.


“It took us a while to get off the bus,” Shilala said.  “It’s a long bus ride from DuBois to Pittsburgh.”


But the Beavers came out firing in the second half.  DuBois recovered a muffed Perry punt at the Commodores’ 39-yard line, and eight plays later, Kelly crashed in from four yards out to slice the home team’s lead to 20-14.


After forcing a Commodore fumble, Means (8-of-13, 162 yards) hit Drew Spicher from 13 yards out, giving the Beavers their first lead of the game with 3:30 left in the third quarter.


Gallagher said he wasn’t concerned about the blown 13-point lead.


“It was correctable stuff,” Perry’s boss said of the muffed punt and the fumble.


It was here that Perry went on a drive that could have taken the air out of any opponent.  The Commodores went on a 15-play, 63-yard, 8:00 drive, capped by McGhee’s second touchdown, a one-yard run with 7:30 left in the game.


DuBois drove for three first downs on its ensuing possession, but gave the ball back to Perry with 2:26 remaining.  Perry could do nothing, and punted the ball back to DuBois, which took over at its own 40 yard line with 1:58 remaining.


After two incompletions, Means’ deep pass appeared to be intercepted by Perry, but simultaneous possession gave Shawn Newpher a 35-yard reception down to the Commodores’ 25 yard line. 


Spicher then hauled in a 17-yard pass from Means, getting to the Perry 8 before Kelly scored from that distance, putting the Beavers in front, 27-26, with 1:26 left to play.


Perry needed a drive.  McGhee had only thrown for 31 yards up to the final drive, but he caught fire late.  He hit Tayshawn Bey with a 38-yard pass on the drive’s initial play, then connected on passes of 8, 4, and 9 yards to get Perry to the Beavers’ 5-yard line.


Two plays later, McGhee’s four yard run gave Perry the deciding blow and a 32-27 lead.  But it almost didn’t happen.


On the 38-yard pass play, Bey fumbled, and DuBois appeared to recover the ball on the Commodore’s side of the field.  But the refs ruled that Perry had recovered the fumble.


“You can’t leave it in the stripes’ hands,” Shilala said.  “Kudos to Perry.  Sometimes, the ball doesn’t bounce your way.”


Gallagher said he wasn’t reaching for the Maalox antacids during the thrilling finish.


“That was fun.  That’s what we live for,” Gallagher said.  “To see your kids step up and do what they do in crunch time…that’s why we do this.”


NOTES: McGhee finished with 90 passing yards, completing 9-of-11 passes.  He added 34 yards rushing.  Lowry ran for 132 yards on 33 carries, with 61 of those yards in the first quarter.  Perry had 265 yards of offense and 18 first downs.


Kelly finished with 24 yards rushing on nine carries for DuBois.  The Beavers ran for 55 yards on 26 carries as a team.  In addition to his 162 passing yards, Means added 17 rushing yards on 10 carries.  DuBois finished with 11 first downs.


The Perry victory was the City League’s first victory against an out-of-conference opponent this season.

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