Things needed to go right from the start for Peru’s football team to come out ahead of Fort Wayne Concordia Lutheran on Friday night in the championship game Class 3A Sectional 27. Instead, Peru’s hopes unraveled quickly.
On the first play from scrimmage, Peru had trouble with a snap, fumbled, recovered the ball, but lost a yard on the play. On the second play, the Bengal Tigers had trouble with a handoff, fumbled, recovered, and lost another yard. On the third play, Peru threw an interception.
Seven plays later, Concordia found the end zone and the Cadets were on their way to a landslide victory. Concordia rumbled for seven touchdowns in the first half and cruised to a 56-6 victory over the Bengal Tigers.
“We already knew they were a really good squad, but we’ve got to play the game. Obviously, that’s not a good start,” Peru coach Romison Saint-Louis said. “We wanted to try to get the ball moving a little bit and do some things to keep the clock running because we knew we couldn’t win a shootout with this team. Unfortunately offensively we didn’t execute what we wanted to do.
“It kind of hits your confidence and then you start making mistakes.”
Concordia quickly took control. Peru had wanted to control the ball and the clock but couldn’t find yards against a stout Concordia defense and didn’t gain a first down until the second quarter. By then the Cadets were up 35-0.
“We needed to run the football well, that’s what we went in … thinking about just being able to run the football, keep the ball moving, positive yards and then obviously in the beginning that didn’t happen and that put us behind the chains and obviously there’s a lot of mistakes being made there,” Saint-Louis said.
The passing game is Concordia’s most dangerous weapon, but the Cadets showed they could be as effective on the ground. Concordia running back Amir Drew ran 17 times for 238 yards and four scores in the first half, bursting through holes and running past defenders in the open field.
Additionally, Concordia quarterback Brandon Davis completed 9 of 12 passes for 130 yards and three TDs before halftime. Concordia led 49-0 at halftime, triggering a running clock for the second half.
Peru found yards hard to come by, finishing with just 32 rushing yards and 26 passing yards. Backup QB Levi Strong played the entire game in relief of usual starter Michael Chandler, who was injured in last week’s game.
The Bengals got on the scoreboard on the game’s final possession when Peru strung four first down’s together and got to the Concordia 4-yard-line. Strong threw to the end zone and receiver Matt Ross wrestled for possession of the pass to score a TD. The clock ran out before an extra point try.
Peru finishes the season 6-6 after a winless campaign last year.
“Our kids worked so hard, coaching staff worked so hard, and to come from being 0-10 to being 6-6, that shows their hard work and dedication, so I’m proud of our kids, proud that they could get some taste of success,” second-year coach Saint-Louis said. “It didn’t end how we wanted to end, but our kids worked and I’m just excited to see the work they’ll do here in the future.”
The Tigers played their final four games without leading rusher Daunte Majors, who suffered a knee injury in Week 8.