By Pastor Vince Carrig
Senior quarterback Elliot Carlson rushed for a record 308 yards, three touchdowns and threw for another score to help torch the Holyoke Dragons, 34-12, Friday night in Grant.
His yardage total set the all-time, single-game record for yards gained by a Plainsmen player.
Carlson doubled the length of his first quarter TD run of 44 yards with an 88-yarder in the third quarter.
“The blocking tonight was amazing, as it always is–I can’t ask for a better line, a better set of guys to block for me,” Carlson said after the game “On that long one the receivers were busting their butts blocking for me, too.”
The only score for either team in the first half, Carlson took a quarterback draw from the shotgun toward the right tackle’s slot, then cut to the center of the field and flashed between Holyoke defensive backs T.J. Gertner and Bradley Cumming to reach the end zone untouched. Right tackle Alex Malmkar sealed off Holyoke’s Alfredo Santos’ rush, and Perkins County receiver Chase Miyamoto dinged defender Brett Cumming to spring Carlson beyond the secondary.
A “low five” from Tim Johnson and straight kick from Colton White gave Perkins County a 7-0 lead after 10:58 of scoreless play.
“It is important to remember that his runs are the result of some great blocking and that he is able to do the rest [with his speed] when he gets into the secondary,” Plainsmen Head Coach Chip Kay said of Carlson’s rushing after the game.
The Plainsmen needed separation on the scoreboard after a 0-0 second quarter, and Carlson got plenty of it on his second touchdown shuttle of 88 yards. Backed to their own 12-yard line by a rolling punt and motion penalty, Carlson beat defensive end Wyatt Powell to the right edge and used his blazing speed to burn past linebacker Dylan Koch into 60 yards of open field.
With a 14-0 lead in his back pocket, Carlson rolled out right at the Dragons’ 24-yard line and threw across his body to Matt Sestak at the seven yard line; the junior receiver curled and continued to the left end zone pylon for a 21-0 Plainsmen lead with 5:07 left in the third quarter.
Carlson threw for 48 yards, completing three of eight passes in just his second start at quarterback at any level of organized football.
Liking the excitement of long scoring runs, running back Johnson bolted up the middle with the ball, shivered past two tacklers, and sliced through the heart of Holyoke’s secondary for a 55-yard romp and a 28-0 Perkins County lead with 8:42 remaining.
“It was all [about] Vinny Ross’ blocking on the inside linebackers–it messed them up,” Johnson said of his career-long scoring run.
Carlson carved through the middle of the Dragons defense one last time with 3:00 left in the game, breaking blitzing linebacker Jesus Heromsillo’s tackle at the Holyoke 28-yard line and cutting left to arrive in the end zone alone. The senior’s seventh rushing touchdown in just two games increased his Plainsmen’s lead to 34-6.
Alex Malmkar and Ross stood out on a Perkins County defensive line that held Holyoke hostage until the Plainsmen clinched the win. With Malmkar’s “nose” for the ball getting him in on double-digit tackles and Ross’ seven solo tackles and two takeaways, the Plainsmen kept a shutout until late in the game.
“Alex [Malmkar] gets better every week,” Coach Kay said of his linebacker, “He is only in his second year of organized football, so he is still learning the game. Fundamentally and strength-wise he has made incredible strides in two years. He has the desire to be a very good player, you can’t coach that.”
Ross shot through the Dragons’ line to steal a fumbled snap and set up Perkins County’s last drive. His interception came on a strange play.
Holyoke center Ryan Parker sailed a snap over punter Wyatt Powell’s head. Panicked punter Powell made the worst of a bad situation: he heaved it skyward, off a satellite. Not about to bat the bad pass down, Ross seized it for an interception.
Sestak broke on an underthrown T.J. Gertner pass in the third quarter and came down with an interception to go with his touchdown reception.
Many Plainsmen contributed to their win all over the field, from freshman defender Chris Throckmorton breaking up passes to senior defensive back Austin Thelander making two receivers pay for visiting his zone, to senior lineman Colton White’s sack and hurry to junior receiver Chase Miyamoto’s turn-and-catch reception for 23 yards, to Johnson’s 48-yard kickoff return, to Kaleb Vak’s 21-yard run, many players gave Perkins County a decisive win.
“It has been an amazing transformation for some players; the attitudes and confidence are sky-high right now,” Coach Kay said, “Several younger players are making contributions, [and] that is huge for us.” Dragons quarterback Gerstner let loose a bomb that found running back Brett Cumming behind the Plainsmen defense for a 22-yard touchdown with 6:08 left to cut Holyoke’s deficit to 28-6.
Freshman running back Bradley Cumming stretched Perkins County’s defense to the left pylon for a four-yard scoring run with 33 seconds left. Neither of kicker Saul Ramos’ extra point tries rose high enough to score.
Classmates crowned Carlson homecoming king after the game.
The Plainsmen will roll into Hershey on Friday in the Panthers’ first home game of 2012. Hershey split their first two games, taking a 23-0 win out of Kimball and losing 13-6 to Southern Valley last Friday.
PC 34, Holyoke 12
1 2 3 4
Holyoke 0 0 0 12—12
Perkins Co. 7 0 14 13—34
Rushing leaders—Perkins County: Carlson 30 runs/308 yards (88 long—TD) 3TD; Johnson 7/90 (55-TD); Vak 2/25 (21); Miyamoto 4/15 (8); Holyoke: Cumming, Bradley 10/73 (14) TD; Cumming, Brett 13/57 (13).
Passing leaders—Perkins County: Carlson 3 completions/8 attempts 48 yards 1 TD 0 INT; Holyoke: Gertner 4-15-58-1-1; Powell 0-1-0-0-1.
Receiving leaders—Perkins County: Miyamoto 1/22; Sestak 1/19 TD; Toner 1/7; Holyoke: Tharp 2/29 (15); Cumming, Brett 1/22 TD; Zeiler 1/7.
Defensive leaders—Perkins County: Ross 2 solo/11 assist (2 for loss), INT, FR; Johnson 5/3 (1) 57 Malmkar 1/9; Toner 3/4; White 2/2 (1); Sestak 2/2; Poppe 2.