HOLTON Perry-Lecompton caught the number of the truck. It was 40.
Those are the uniform digits worn by Matt Schirmer, the Holton running back who rushed for four touchdowns as the No. 1-ranked Wildcats subdued Perry-Lecompton, 28-14, in a Class 4A bi-district football game on Tuesday night.
Schirmer, a 6-foot-2, 209-pound junior, carried the ball 29 times for 245 yards.
"He's about 10 times better than any back we've met this season," said Perry-Lecompton linebacker Josh Pritchard.
Echoed Kaws' coach Charlie Golder: "He's a great running back."
Schirmer did most of his damage early, scoring on a three-yard run to end the Wildcats' first possession, busting loose for an 86-yard scamper on the 'Cats' second possession and climaxing a 21-play drive with a nine-yard bolt three minutes before halftime.
In the first half, Schirmer gained 191 yards on 16 carries. But in the second half, Holton's bruising ball-carrier gained only 54 yards on 13 carries.
"I think we were intimated right at the start," Golder said. "We're used to coming out and dominating physically. But Holton is very physical and they proved that in the first few series. We were a little shell-shocked early."
After the early flurry, Holton settled into a ball control game. The Wildcats followed their clock-eating 21-play late first-half drive with a 14-play scoring drive to open the second half.
"We kept the ball away from them," Holton coach Brooks Barta said. "They're an explosive team, and that was key."
Schirmer capped that second-half opening march with a six-yard burst up the middle -- his fourth TD of the night and, as it turned out, the Wildcats' final points. The drive ate seven minutes off the clock.
When the Kaws finally regained possession, they drove from their own 40 to the Holton 19, but the threat ended when Holton's Jacob Kennedy intercepted P-L quarterback Gary Freeman's pass.
Finally, Perry-Lecompton put something together. Starting on their own 15, the Kaws marched 85 yards in 11 plays with Joe Corcoran doing most of the work.
Corcoran carried eight times for 58 yards, including the last yard with 5:31 remaining. Corcoran ran for a two-point conversion and Perry trailed, 28-8.
Corcoran's onside kick failed and Holton drove from midfield to the Perry-Lecompton 12 where Schirmer was held to one yard on fourth-and-two.
Perry-Lecompton took over on its own 11 with 2:14 remaining. Two plays later, Freeman was nailed trying to pass and Holton was assessed 15 yards for roughing the passer.
Freeman suffered an ankle injury and Corcoran took over at quarterback, a position the 6-0, 170-pound senior played as a freshman.
Moments later, Corcoran unloaded a 67-yard TD strike to Dusty Ingenthron with only 1:03 remaining. Again, Corcoran's onside kick was covered by Holton and this time the Wildcats ran out the clock with just two knee-touches.
Corcoran, a thousand-yard rusher for the Kaws this season, concluded his career with 11 carries for 78 yards. Holton held him to 19 yards on six carries in the first half.
The senior-dominated Kaws finished with an 8-2 record -- the best by a Perry-Lecompton team since the 1981 squad went 9-1.
"They've meant a lot to me," Golder said of his seniors. "They've done what it takes to be winners -- on the field, in the weight room and in the classroom. They've continued to impress me, and they've made my job a lot easier."
-- Chuck Woodling's phone message number is 832-7147. His e-mail address is email@example.com.