CRIDERSVILLE — The Allen East stable of running backs proved to be too much for Perry to handle as the Mustangs overran the Commodores 61-20 in a nonleague confrontation Friday night.
Allen East improved to 2-0. Perry evens its record at 1-1.
Allen head coach Mike Abbey said the first half was tough but once Allen East got things rolling the Mustangs could not be stopped. Allen East outscored Perry 25-0 in the second half.
“We played a pretty nice second half and when the defense scores three times good things are going to happen,” Abby said.
The Mustangs, riding the legs of Caleb Smelcer, Kyle Nichols, Brent Wilson and Reid Spencer, rushed for 253 yards for the game and scored six of Allen East’s nine touchdowns.
Smelcer was the main thoroughbred for Allen East as he rushed for 100 yards on nine carries and two touchdowns. Smelcer also caught a 71-yard touchdown pass to add to his big night. He caught two passes for 108 yards. Smelser also intercepted a pass for a touchdown late in the fourth quarter that went for a touchdown.
“Our O-line gelled tonight,” Abbey said. “No. 17 (Smelser) had a great night for us. He had an interception for a touchdown and a couple of other big plays.”
Not to be overshadowed was the Mustang quarterback play of Spencer Miller, who rushed for one touchdown and threw for another. Miller also had two interceptions including one for a pic six.
Because the Mustang smothering defense took away Perry’s running, the Commodores were forced to pass. However, this meant they had to deal with Perry signal caller Plummie Gardner who continually eluded Mustang defenders throughout the night to make several impressive plays to keep Perry within striking distance in the first half.
But even Gardner’s exploits in the pocket were not enough to sustain Perry and keep the Commodores close once Allen East established a 16-point lead at halftime.
Gardner was 12 of 22 for 247 yards and three touchdowns and one interception in the first half but was limited to one completion in the second half and finished with a 13 for 28 for 281 yards and two touchdowns and two interceptions.
“Our defense is just so aggressive,” Abbey said. “Our guys were just coming from all over the place.”
On its first possession Allen East got on the scoreboard when they drove 46 yards with Kyle Nickles scampering for 23 yards for the touchdown to cap off the modest five play drive. After a blocked extra point, the Mustangs led 6-0 with 7:51 left in the first quarter.
The Mustang defense got in on the scoring when Spencer Miller picked off a pass at the 8-yard line and went in for the six points. After a successful 2-point conversion, Allen East held a 14-0 lead with 11:09 left in the first half.
Not ready to roll over and play dead, Perry took just one play to respond to the Mustang touchdown. Undeterred by his interception, Gardner, who took a big hit on the play, went deep to Kobe Glover who snatched the ball just out of the reach of the defender’s hands at the 40 and raced in the remaining yards to complete the 70-yard touchdown pass.
Led by Smelcer, who ran one in from five yards out, followed by a 71-yard touchdown catch by the talented tailback, the Mustangs took a 28-6 advantage and it appeared Allen East was on its way to a blow out win.
But ever the gamer, Gardner rallied the Commodores for two unanswered touchdowns to slice the lead to 28-20 with 46 seconds left in the half after Gardner had touchdown passes to LaMonte Nicholes for 45 yards followed by a 54-yard strike to Wayna Smith.
But even with 46 seconds left, the Mustangs, again on the strength of their ground game, quickly moved down the field and in just six plays the Mustangs were celebrating their sixth touchdown of the evening when Miller ran it in with no time on the clock to give Allen East a 36-20 advantage.
Allen East’s opening drive of the second half pretty much did Perry in when the Mustangs drove 60 yards in eight plays for another score to make it 42-20 with 7:30 left in the game.
Reach Jose Nogueras at 567-242-0468 or on twitter at @JoseNogueras1