FORSYTH -- Mary Persons head coach Brian Nelson didn’t even need to make an adjustment at halftime of the Bulldogs’ GHSA Region 2-AAAA opener Friday against Perry.
It was simply a matter of execution, which the Bulldogs pulled off to perfection in the second half as they broke open a tie game to rout Perry 42-14.
“We really didn’t change anything at halftime at all,” Nelson said. “We just said we needed to do things better, execute better. Luckily right now we can say we have come out in the second halves of games and played much better, but we have to change that. It’s a big win for us because it is a region game.”
Tied at 7 at halftime, Mary Persons (5-0, 1-0 Region 2-AAAA) received the second-half kickoff and put together a nine-play drive that lasted more than three minutes and culminated in 5-yard scoring run from running back Jaquavious Sims. The touchdown by Sims sparked a string of 35 straight points by the Bulldogs.
Quen Wilson added scoring runs of 44 yards and 25 yards, the first coming on a drive just after the Mary Persons defense held tight as Perry drove inside the Mary Persons 30.
But on third-and-long with a little more than five minutes remaining in the third quarter, Perry quarterback Chris Stewart rolled out of the pocket and was sacked for a loss of 11 yards, forcing the Panthers to punt.
“This was a big game for us with it being the first region game,” Sims said. “You want to come out with a win, and there was a lot of pressure on us in the first half, but the second half, we finally got it together and pulled it out. This gives us a big boost going into the bye week.”
Perry moved the ball well at times and took an early 7-0 lead as Jay Watkins punched the ball across the goal line from 1 yard out. But the Panthers struggled to pick up first downs on third-and-long situations in the second half.
Still scoreless late in the second quarter, Mary Persons received a boost from running back Zach Harvey, who scored from 11 yards out to tie the game before halftime.
“For whatever reason, every game we have played this year has been like that, been close at halftime,” Nelson said. “We have to start finding a way to get off to a better start. I don’t how we’re going to do it, but we have to figure it out. We just have to find a way to get off to a better start.”