Ground game leads Peru past AuSable Valley

·3 min read

Sep. 18—CLINTONVILLE — What a start for the Peru Nighthawks.

After a tough Week 0 loss to Fonda-Fultonville, the Nighthawks (2-1, 2-0) have come out of the gates running for their Champlain Valley Athletic Conference football schedule.

Peru handed AuSable Valley (1-1) a 21-6 loss, Friday, using a strong run game combined with stellar defensive play.

"I think we are getting a little better each week," Nighthawks coach Ryon O'Connell said. "We knew how good AuSable was, and we were excited for this week. This is a great step for us to go into the rest of the season."

Zach O'Connell and Jack Hayes rushed for touchdowns, and O'Connell hooked up with Keegan Smith for a passing score to lead the Peru charge.

Defensively, the Nighthawks came up with multiple third- and fourth-down stops to silence the Patriots and AuSable quarterback Eli Douglas.

Douglas scored five touchdowns in a Week 1 win against Beekmantown, but Peru kept him in check.

Douglas switched to receiver late in the game and did catch a touchdown pass, but the impact he had against the Eagles was nowhere near as strong against the Nighthawks.

"Everyone on the sideline was up, and the energy was great," Zach O'Connell said. "We just had more energy today. The offensive line was amazing and the best I have seen them be, and our run game was working. We were happy to stick with that."

Jack Hanson led the Peru ground attack with 138 yards on 15 carries, and O'Connell added 98 more rushing yards.

Hanson had a 28-yard scamper to set up Hayes' 1-yard score with 13.5 seconds to go before halftime that boosted the Nighthawks' advantage to 14-0.

Zach O'Connell put Peru on the board with a 7-yard run with 5:44 left in the second quarter.

The Nighthawks forced a 3-and-out on the Patriots' first drive of the second half and then got a fourth-down stop on AuSable's next drive to keep the momentum through the third quarter.

That momentum got even stronger when O'Connell passed to Smith who scored on a 17-yard play with 7:44 remaining in the third quarter.

"We really came prepared for this game," Zach O'Connell said. "Coming prepared and practicing hard is what we have to do as a football team to win games."

Carson Garcia hit Douglas for a 17-yard touchdown to put the Patriots on the board at the 3:04 mark of the fourth quarter to prevent a shutout.

Douglas finished with 66 rushing and 45 receiving yards, while Zach Bola piled up 30 yards on seven carries.

In Week 3, Peru visits Plattsburgh High, and AuSable goes to Ticonderoga. Both games are slated for 7:30 p.m. Friday.

"Everyone on offense and defense did something to help the team win, and that's what's best," Ryon O'Connell said.

"We just have to keep getting better in practice and keep doing the little things. PHS is a great football team, and they are hard to prepare for, but we will do our best to prepare and be ready."

Peru 21, AuSable Valley 6

PCS 0 14 0 7 — 21

AVC 0 0 0 6 — 6

Second quarter

PCS- O'Connell 7 run (Smith kick), 5:44.

PCS- Hayes 1 run (Smith kick), 13.5.

Fourth quarter

PCS- Smith 17 pass from O'Connell (Smith kick), 7:44.

AVC- Douglas 17 pass from Garcia (kick blocked), 3:04.

Individual statistics

PCS- Hanson 15-138; O'Connell 15-98, TD; Hayes 4-21, TD. Totals: 34-257, 2TD.

AVC- Douglas 12-66; Bola 8-30; Depo 2-16; Garcia 1-13; Furnia 2-5; Prentiss 3-(-1). Totals: 28-129.

Passing

PCS- O'Connell 3-11-0-30, TD.

AVC- Garcia 2-5-0-45, TD; Douglas 2-7-0-9. Totals: 4-12-0-54.

Receiving

PCS- Smith 1-17, TD; Hanson 2-13.

AVC- Douglas 2-45, TD; Mattila 2-9.

Email Joey LaFranca:

jlafranca@pressrepublican.com

Twitter: @JoeyLaFranca

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