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Archive for Thursday, October 27, 2005

Tongie awaits perfect Perry

October 27, 2005

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It has been 25 years since Perry-Lecompton High has produced a football team that went unbeaten during the regular season.

Now the Kaws are on the cusp of another 9-0 record, and, coincidentally, many members of that 1980 PLHS squad will be on hand tonight.

"Most of them still live around here," PLHS coach Mike Paramore said. "A few of them are dads of kids who are playing now."

That '80 team will be recognized at halftime of tonight's regular-season finale against Tonganoxie.

Kickoff will be at 7 p.m. at Brunton Field.

Although both Perry-Lecompton and Tonganoxie already are assured a berth in the Class 4A state playoffs, tonight's winner will earn a home game in Tuesday's first round.

"There's a great incentive for us to play well," Paramore said.

The Kaws will need to bring their A-game, that's for sure, because Tonganoxie will be shooting for its third straight 8-1 regular season. The Chieftains' lone loss was to Lansing in the season opener. Tongie blew a 10-0 lead late and bowed, 14-10.

Tongie could get another crack at Lansing on Tuesday, depending on the outcome of tonight's game because the Kaws and Chieftains are paired with Lansing and Kansas City Ward in the 4A bracket.

Tonight's winner will play host to the loser of tonight's Lansing-Ward game, while the Perry-Tongie loser will travel to play the winner.

Perry-Lecompton has an edge in experience. Paramore has a nucleus of 15 seniors, while Tongie coach Mark Elston uses only about half that many.

"They're good," Elston said of the Kaws. "A lot of those seniors started as sophomores. They don't have any weaknesses. They have no holes."

Paramore's I-formation attack is built around tailback Cory McPherson and fullback Sean Blosser, both seniors. McPherson has rushed for 866 yards and nine touchdowns, while Blosser has run for 642 yards and 11 scores.

But the Kaws don't rely on the run. Quarterback David Fultz had thrown for nearly 800 yards and seven TDs, with Daniel Hemme and 6-foot-6 Gabe Gantz his primary targets.

Tongie's offense revolves around junior quarterback Jeff Hughes and senior tailback Brandon Willis.

"Jeff has improved dramatically since the first game," Elston said, "and Willis is the heartbeat of our team. He's come back strong after missing last season with a knee injury."

Tonganoxie spilled Basehor-Linwood in the first round of last year's 4A playoffs before bowing to perennial power Topeka Hayden. Perry-Lecompton will be making its first appearance in the playoffs since 1999.

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