PENNSBURG >> The final outcome didn’t validate the teams’ records.
Perkiomen School came into the weekend sporting a 5-1 season mark, with designs on extending its win streak to five games. Standing between the Panthers and that accomplishment was a Wyoming Seminary squad that had yet to win a game after five outings.
So a 15-10 win by the Blue Knights ended up shattering anyone’s record-based projection on how the game would unfold. A better second half of play proved Wyoming’s saving grace and the Panthers’ undoing.
“Wyoming Seminary’s record doesn’t indicate who they are,” Perkiomen head coach Tom Calvario said following the school’s Senior Day observance. “For us, it was a case of ‘iffa, woulda, shoulda, coulda’.”
Both teams featured quarterbacks capable of carrying their teams on their shoulders to victory. But in this instance, it was Seminary’s Jared Piantik who made the winning tote.
The lanky post-graduate — a “running back who plays quarterback,” by Calvario’s description — rushed for a game-high 114 yards, to include a 30-yard sprint up the middle for Wyoming’s go-ahead touchdown inside the opening minute of the fourth quarter. And while going a pedestrian 6-for-14 (84 yards) in the passing game, Piantik used a 29-yard scoring pass to Emmanuel Beals to get the Blue Knights on the scoreboard less than four minutes into the second half.
“We made the big plays when we had to,” WS head coach Kevin Kelly said.
That was particularly true on the defensive side, where Wyoming twice stopped Perkiomen touchdown bids inside the five-yard line.
The first was the closeout to the first half, the Panthers trying to expand their early 8-0 lead. Josh Cruz, attempting a halfback pass, was intercepted by Knight post-grad Kyree Campbell as time ran out.
A second, more critical, came around the game’s two-minute mark. Perk quarterback Nick Guadarrama, fueling a drive that started at his team’s 41, ran up the middle on a fourth-and-goal situation at the Wyoming eight. Guadarrama pushed the ball to the Knight one, but he was stopped short of the end zone.
“They are the most physical team we’ve played,” Calvario said.
Getting the ball back with 2:01 left, Seminary gained only three yards on three Piantik carries. On fourth down at the four, the Knights yielded a safety when Piantik ran out of the end zone with only 30 seconds left.
Perkiomen ran the ensuing kickoff back to the visitors’ 43. It could only gain 15 yards as time ran out, though, mainly on Guadarrama’s 16-yard toss to Cruz.
“We tried to put the ball in the person’s hands who had the most success,” Calvario said. “Nick was the right person. He did what we asked him to.”
Guadarrama steered Perkiomen’s passing game to 152 yards on 20-for-33 accuracy. He threw an eight-yard scoring toss to Chandler Brooks with 2:07 left in the first half, giving the Panthers an 8-0 lead after he ran for the two-point conversion.
The Panther junior had another 75 yards rushing on 21 tries.
Cruz was Guararrama’s favorite target, making 10 catches for 78 yards. Steve Ratigan had another six receptions for 48 yards, and Brooks finished with 23 yards on three catches.
NOTES >> Perkiomen’s senior players were acknowledged prior to the start of the game: Eric Aaron, PK Arthur, Cruz, Ian Diaz, Bill Ding, J.J. Heffernan, Jordon Minder, Aidan O’Brien, Daniil Prokopenko, Ratigan, Ben Williams and Levi Yeager. … Otis Thrasher proved a two-way force for Wyoming. The post-grad had 76 receiving yards on four catches, and he intercepted a Guadarrama pass after the Blue Knights got the game-tying touchdown in the third quarter.
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