PERRY -- The Rutland Hurricanes dominated the second half and came from behind to beat the Perry Panthers 48-31 on the road Friday night in a crucial GHSA Region 2-AAAA matchup.
Were excited, Rutland head coach George Collins said. This team has worked hard, and its a great group. One of the things we had for a goal was to have a chance at the end, and it looks like we do.
Perry had 353 yards of offense at the half as quarterback Dylan Griger threw for three touchdowns and led the Panthers to a 31-27 lead at the break. He entered the game with just three touchdowns all season.
Rutland forced a pair of punts to begin the second half and took their first lead of the game on a 25-yard touchdown run by Montez Cheney, who rushed for 280 yards.
After the kickoff, the Hurricanes DeVonte Ellington intercepted Griger on the first play and returned the ball to the Panthers 6. Perry forced a fourth-and-goal from the 1, but Cheney again found the end zone for a 41-31 lead.
We didnt say much (at halftime), Collins said. It was just execution. Offensively we knew what we to do and defensively they just played untypical in the first half.
Cheney scored four times in the game and racked up 10 rushes for 10 yards or more.
He is a big-time player, Collins said. You give the ball to him, and he doesnt leave anything. Hes going to run as hard as he can every time he touches it.
The Panthers fall to 2-4 in the region and will need a win over Howard next week and a lot of help to qualify for the playoffs. Rutland improves to 3-3 and are currently fourth. They will square off with Westside next week in a rivalry game with major playoff implications.
Were just going to keep working on what were doing, Collins said. Its going to be a battle. Westside is a good football team, and we battled them good last year but came up second. Its just where we want to be though. We wanted to go into Westside with it meaning something, and it does mean something.