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DCG keeps up momentum with big plays over Perry

Sean Cordy - Correspondent
Cayden Widen in action for the Bluejays against Dallas Center-Grimes on the road.

It wasn't long ago that Dallas Center-Grimes (3-0) was looking to get wins wherever they could. Now they're top dogs in their class and proved it once more Friday, Sept. 11 against Perry (0-3) with a dominating 48-0 win, leaving the Bluejays in search of their first win of the season.

In 2018, the Mustangs won only one game. The next year they glided to the playoffs with nine wins and look to go even further this season. DCG head coach Scott Heitland can pinpoint exactly where the ship turned around, the same boat Perry's looking to reverse course with first-year head coach Bryce Pierce.

"We just weren't a very good football team. We were young," Heitland said. "But the one thing that stood out that year was our kids never quit fighting, getting excited about coming to practice. Week nine we're 1-7, we go against (a playoff team) Carrroll and we played a 14-7 ball game. I remember riding home thinking 'These kids will fight like this when we're 1-8. Imagine what they'll do if we can start winning some football games.'"

Heitland pointing to "tremendous" senior leadership, the Mustangs have proven to have a juggernaut mentality capable of putting the pedal to the metal within seconds. Friday's game was a cookie cutter highlight reel for the Mustangs who took a 32-0 lead in the first quarter alone after a head start granted in the first couple plays.

Perry cheerleaders brave the rain to help cheer on the Bluejays on Friday, Sept. 11 in Grimes.

Playing on what could be classified as a swamp due to the week's constant rain, every single play held a new risk. The more experienced of the teams proved to have that under better control as the Bluejays slipped up within the first two minutes to allow two Zach Brand touchdowns on the first two plays. He'd close out the game with three TDs and 85 yards on eight carries before taking the rest of the night off in the second quarter.

"Guys like Zach might not play a whole lot and we went into that game in our first series saying, 'Hey, we're gonna run the stuff that we said we have to be better at,'" Heitland said. "That's what we're capable of and I think that's how you keep your edge."

Perry players line up during a road matchup with Dallas Center-Grimes on Friday, Sept. 11.

DCG didn't lose any pace with AJ Jahangir stepping in Brand's place as he worked his way in for two scores in the second quarter, putting the Mustangs up 46-0 before halftime with 171 yards of total offense.

That left Perry precious room to move as the Mustangs anticipated virtually every move along the way, struggling to maintain control as they'd fumble the waterlogged ball six times with two converted into safeties and another giving DCG possession on a punt return. Playing in the same conditions, Heitland said he was happy to see the control shown by his squad.

On the limited amount of opportunities on offense, Perry was led by Juan Hernandez with eight yards on eight carries as the rest of the Bluejays were held behind the line for -38 total yards. 

Jeremiah Baker takes a snap for the Bluejays on Friday, Sept. 11 in Grimes.

Perry's QB-power scheme — which placed Cayden Widen at QB after Jeremiah Baker left with an injury — didn't faze the DCG front as they produced 15 tackles for loss led by Josh Hendricks with seven total tackles and 3.5 TFLs. Spencer Hall and Cuinn Cullen each had two wrap-ups in the backfield as well. 

Despite such a disparity on the stat sheet, after the game Heitland said he told Pierce he believes between the schemes he saw Perry run on film against a tough schedule and the framework on display Friday, the Bluejays are on the right course with time.

The top-ranked Mustangs have a road matchup with Des Moines Hoover up next while Perry will battle the Norwalk Warriors.

Perry's Deshawn Salcedo during the Sept. 11 road game against Dallas Center-Grimes.