PIQUA — Perry’s dream season came to a nightmarish end after New Bremen overwhelmed the Commodores 42-14 in a Division VII, Region 28 semifinal on Saturday at Alexander Stadium.
Perry finishes the season with an 8-4 record. New Bremen (9-3) advances to a regional final against Marion Local at 7 p.m. on Saturday at Wapakoneta’s Harmon Field. The Flyers edged Fort Loramie 24-21 in overtime on Saturday to advance.
New Bremen dominated the first half to grab a 42-0 lead over Perry.
Cardinal head coach Chris Schmidt said getting off to a good start really gave the team momentum.
“Obviously being able to establish the run is what we want to do every game and I thought that was huge,” Schmidt said. “Our defense really played well and they didn’t let their playmakers do what they and that was a big part of it as well.”
Schmidt added winning the battle in the trenches was a major factor in getting off to the big start.
Utilizing its bruising running game, the Cardinals took control of this game by scoring on its first five drives in the first half.
New Bremen scored on drives of 60, 77, 47, 85 and 63 yards.
New Bremen had a defensive touchdown when Mitchell Hays had an interception for a touchdown in the first half. Cardinal running back Zach Bertke spearheaded the ground game after rushing for 111 yards and two touchdowns on seven carries.
Hays, the team’s quarterback, was effective both on the ground and through the air. Hays rushed for 73 yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries and was 8-of-13 for 108 yards with one touchdown.
“He is one of our playmakers and we look to him to make plays in the context of the offense and defense and he did a great job tonight leading and everyone else fought along,” Schmidt said of Hays. “It was a good night.”
The Cardinals’ smothering defense shut down the potent Perry offense. New Bremen held the Commodores to minus 10 yards and limited the Perry passing game to 74 yards and produced two interceptions in the first half.
Perry’s best scoring opportunity in the first half came when the Commodores moved into Cardinal territory and got the ball inside the red zone to the 15. However, the Cardinals came up with an interception to quash the scoring drive.
New Bremen played its second team in the second half.
Perry avoided the shutout by scoring two late fourth quarter touchdowns.
Quarterback Ryan Yingst, who was harassed all night, finished 15-for-23 for 225 yards with two interceptions and two touchdowns.
The Cardinals finished with 408 yards of offense and held the Commodores to 238.
“We shot ourselves in the foot a couple of different ways,” Perry head coach Dan Baker said. “I think we had two interceptions, a fumble and a kickoff we didn’t recover. They played hard and physical and a couple of our guys didn’t play hard and physical.”
Baker added that by going down early it pretty much eliminated the game plan and Perry was forced to play catch up all night long.
“I think we had four possessions on offense before being down 42-0,” Baker said. “You can’t really get into too much game plan when you are on offense for four different drives and 15 plays. It kind of makes things getting in a flow pretty tough. Defensively we had to do a better job.”
Baker said it is a tough way to end the season but added that his team made history. This year the Commodores captured its first Northwest Central Conference title and made its second playoff appearance and one its first postseason game last year.
“These guys should hold there head’s up and they did things that have never been done at the school,” Baker said. “I think we are young overall but we lose some guys that are talented and at the end of the day we have figure how to move on without them.”
Reach Lima News sports editor Jose Nogueras at (567) 242-0468.