Struthers rushing attack stumbles in Perry
By BOB ETTINGER
Struthers football coach Curt Kuntz knew the Perry offense was going to score points. Where the Pirates might have caught the Wildcats off guard a bit was with their defense in Friday’s Division IV, Region 13 quarterfinal.
The Wildcats struggled to find openings on the ground and fell, 38-8, to the Pirates at Alumni Stadium.
The second-seeded Pirates (11-0) will play sixth-seeded Girard on Friday night at a site to be announced Sunday.
“We’re just going to come out and see what we have,” Perry coach Matt Rosati said. “We’ll prepare like we always do and I’m sure it will be a good football game. We’re looking forward to it.”
The Pirates used a 29-yard field goal from Sampson Agostine to take the early lead with 8:38 to play in the first quarter. Nearly six-and-half minutes later, Kolston Brewster connected with Jacob Allen on a 6-yard touchdown strike for a 10-0 lead.
Allen snagged a 26-yard touchdown reception on a reverse pass from Jake Reid and the Pirates led, 17-0, just six seconds into the second quarter.
The Wildcats (7-4) managed to move the ball a bit, but failed to reach the end zone and trailed by 17 at the break.
“We moved the ball starting off pretty well,” Kuntz said. “But they stopped the run.
“They’ve got an all-state player up front and the other four guys are pretty good,” Kuntz said. “They do a lot of moving around and they stopped the run. We didn’t execute on a couple passes when we got down there early.”
Keith Burnside gave Struthers some hope with a 24-yard interception return and J.D. Hall hit Nate Richards for the two-point conversion to get the Wildcats to within nine, 17-8, with 10:18 to play in the third quarter.
After recovering an on-side kick, Struthers failed to score and the Pirates answered with a 14-play, 93-yard march to the end zone. Tyler Horvath scored from 9 yards out.
“That was a really big stop for us then we went on a 14-play drive to put it in the end zone,” Rosati said. “I was really happy the fact that got our attention and the defense got the stop. Going on the 14-play drive was nail in the coffin.”
“Just give the ball back to them in three plays and they went on the drive after that,” Kuntz said. “It comes down to running the ball. If you can’t run the ball inside, you’ve just got to take shots and they can make it hard to hit the plays you need to.”
Allen added his third touchdown catch of the night with 4:44 left in the third and it was 31-8 in favor of the Pirates with 12 minutes remaining. Horvath scored from the one in the fourth quarter to close the scoring.