Perry football gains momentum against Panthers

Sean Cordy, Correspondent
Special to the Chief

While the 39-21 score may have been in favor of Panorama on Friday night, the Bluejays gave plenty of excitement that’s been bottled up for the past few seasons.

Like a light, the Bluejays flipped a switch and scored more touchdowns in four quarters than they did all of the past two years. 

Perry's Juan Hernandez is congratulated by his teammates after scoring a touchdown during a game against Panorama on Friday, Aug. 19, 2022, in Perry.

Coming back from an injury last year that stunted his growth in the backfield, halfback Juan Hernandez toted the ball 24 times for 124 yards and a touchdown thanks to a long 55 yard sprint. He not only had fullback Keegan Snyder creating some lanes but also had some pressure taken off him as Snyder carried his own 105 yards and a touchdown as well. That’s the first time since 2014 that Perry had two players eclipse 100 yards in a single game. And that also puts both on pace to be the team’s first thousand rusher since Will Whiton in 2015 if the rest of the season can run this smoothly.

They were also a formidable duo on defense where Hernandez had eight tackles to go with an interception. Snyder had five stops and a fumble recovery as well. Gavin Hegstrom led the team with 12 tackles.

Back on offense, Caden Heck stepped up in the pocket, throwing for 76 yards and a touchdown on 6-of-18 passing with two interceptions. Holden Smith was his main man, grabbing four receptions for 50 yards and a touchdown. 

Perry's Caden Heck gets set to hand the ball to a teammate during a game against Panorama on Friday, Aug. 19, 2022, in Perry.

However, there’s still a chance all of this doesn’t count in the official books if Des Moines Hoover doesn’t play this year due to regulations that allowed this Week 0 game. Even so, the Bluejays captured some momentum that hopes to carry them into Friday’s game against Ogden which won 33-0 against Perry last year but are rebuilding a formidable offense this season.