The Perry football team ended their season on a three-game winning streak after blanking Saydel, 46-0, in non-district play at Dewey Field last Friday.
The Bluejay defense recorded their first shutout since late in the 2009 season, keeping consecutive opponents out of the end zone for the second consecutive week.
"We took care of business the way we expected to," Perry head coach Jason Olejniczak said. "We let up a little bit in the third quarter but then woke back up a bit in the final 12 minutes.
"For us being out of the playoffs I thought our guys stayed focused all week in practice," he added. "This group, especially these seniors, did not want to be done with football. You could see that in how long they stayed on the field and in the locker room after the game — they did not want it to end."
Cody Chance, Ben Daniels, Austin Dunn, Cavan Finn, Michael Lansing, Michael Pentico, Seth Stetzel and Omar Marquez all had their prep grid careers end on a victorious note and in emphatic fashion with the shutout.
Perry jumped on Saydel early, with Will Whiton setting a new school record by returning an Eagle punt 91 yards for a touchdown and a 6-0 Bluejay lead just over two minutes into the contest.
Whiton ran for 21 yards and hit Daniels on a 46-yard pass on Perry’s next possession to move the ball to the Saydel four-yard line. Stetzel ran for three yards on first down, then powered in off the right side of the line for a 12-0 lead.
Whiton made it 18-0 with a 41-yard TD scamper on the second play of the second quarter before leading the hosts on a nine-play, 74-yard drive he capped by hitting a wide-open Daniels while scrambling for a seven-yard score. Alvaro Soto added the PAT kick for a 25-0 Perry lead with 5:48 to play in the half.
Olejniczak said he "coaches to win the game" and does not make any special effort to build statistics, but admitted he wanted to have Chance and Dunn snare passes in their final game.
"We tried a couple of times to get Austin the ball but they had it covered up," the coach said. "We thought we could get Cody open and did, and he turned it into a touchdown."
The play in question came after Blake Jans fell on a Saydel fumble at the Eagle 25. It was the fifth recovery of the year for Jans, tying him with two others for tops in Class 3A.
That set up Chance, who broke straight up the grid from his tight end spot on the left side of the offensive line. Whiton hit him in stride, with Chance carrying a defender over the goal line for a touchdown. Soto’s PAT set the score at 32-0, where it remained until the fourth quarter.
Finn scored on a four-yard run with just under six minutes left in the season, with Ivan Garcia adding the PAT to move the score to 39-0 and institute a consecutive clock.
Finn got into the act on defense moments later, stepping in front of an Eagle pass and racing 45 yards down the sideline for a touchdown. Anthony Guardado’s PAT boot was good, capping the scoring in the game, and the season, for the Jays.
Whiton was 5-10-1 for 97 yards and two scores in the air, with Finn 1-3-0 for 16 yards passing. Daniels caught five passes for 88 yards and a TD, with Chance grabbing a 25-yard TD.
Perry ran for 313 yards on 33 carries, with Whiton rushing seven times for 147 yards and a score and Stetzel 19 times for 134 yards and a score to lead the way.
Lansing and Jans each had 12 tackles, with Chase Carrick adding 11 stops while Stetzel and Wilhelmi had 10 denials apiece, with Daniels adding an interception. Lansing finished with 115 tackles on the year and Wilhelmi 109, good enough for second the third-best in the district and for eighth and 11th best overall in 3A through the regular season.
Stetzel had three tackles behind the line of scrimmage, with Carrick adding two stops for a loss and Wilhelmi one.
Saydel battled throughout the game and never ceased to play hard, finishing with 138 yards on the ground on 41 carries.
David Porter (10-40), Dylan Coffin (11-36), Jacob Philipsen (8-32) and Clayton Sommers (9-25) shared the workload, with Evan Andrews adding five yards on three runs.
The Eagles had almost no success in the air, with Philipsen 4-9-1 for 14 yards while Sommers missed on his three passes and Grant Sherman was intercepted on his one attempt. Jake Sherman (2-11), Grant Sherman (1-2) and Sommers (1-1) had the receptions.
Jake Sherman and Jeremiah Stalker recorded sacks, with Sommers intercepting a pass.
Although Jake Sherman’s first punt was returned for a score, the senior was very impressive, averaging 48.5 yards on six punts, with a long of 65. His 47.2 average on 36 punts is third best in all of Iowa and easily tops 3A. Early this season he booted an 81-yard punt.
Perry finished the year 4-5 overall after a 2-4 mark in District 1. Teams will learn their new district assignments for 2014 and 15 in February.