Aztecs start fast, fizzle out in Homecoming loss to Perry

Written by Graham Eversden, Staff Writer

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The Aztecs started fast in their homecoming game against the Perry Pumas, but eventually fell, 56-21.

Corona struck first with a 66-yard touchdown run on the first drive of the game. The lead didn’t last long. Within eight minutes, Perry scored 16 unanswered points, including a blocked punt for a safety.

“We started out fast,” senior linebacker Jared Hatler said. “We scored the touchdown really quick and then we had to keep going at them and we didn’t. One thing led to another and then we’re playing from behind.”

The Aztec’s offense wasn’t able to find it’s rhythm in the second quarter, while Perry’s kept scoring with ease. This led to a 34-7 Puma lead at halftime.

“(We have to) keep cleaning up what we’re doing,” Head Coach Richard Mettlach said. “At times we do thing pretty well; we’re just not very consistent. We were doing the wrong coverage or just a step late a couple times. You can’t do that against a good team.”

In the third quarter, the Aztecs started to find their groove. Senior quarterback Austin Helt led a long drive that was capped with a 24-yard touchdown pass to Alex Pearsall. On the Puma’s next possession, junior Brandon Gavel, whose brother was recently diagnosed with cancer, intercepted a pass and took it back for a touchdown.

“It was a team effort,” Gavel said about his interception. “I’d like to think it was for (my brother), but I can’t individualize myself.”

The Aztecs continued their hot streak by forcing a third-and-29 on the next Perry possession. Then the wheels came off again. The Pumas threw a screen pass and the running back took it 87 yards for a touchdown.

This is the second time this season the Aztecs have given up a long touchdown on a screen pass.

“It’s never a weakness as long as you tackle,” Mettlach said. “Against Highland (when they scored on a screen pass), we had two guys right there to make the play and they don’t make the play. Tonight I thought we played it well. I was ready to see him go down. One kid misses and he cuts back and another kid slips and it turns into a touchdown.”

With the loss, the Aztecs fall to 2-3 on the season. They’ve lost four out of their last five Homecoming games.

“(It was) painful because in my four years at Corona we won one Homecoming game and it’s supposed to be something special and it wasn’t,” Hatler said.

Next week the Aztecs travel to Boulder Creek to face the Jaguars.


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