High School Sports

Veterans holds off late Perry rally

The Veterans Warhawks survived a late Perry rally and held on to beat the Panthers 21-14 on Friday night in GHSA non-region play at Freedom Field.

Veterans controlled the game in the first half but was only able to mount a 7-0 advantage at the break. The Warhawks made it 14-0 in the third quarter before a Perry offense that mustered 41 yards in the first half came to life.

Panthers quarterback Damion Bagley threw a pair of second-half touchdowns to draw the Panthers within seven points with 3:44 to play. Perry recovered the ensuing onside kick and moved the ball to the Warhawks’ 17, but a costly personal foul penalty put the Panthers behind the chains, and Veterans was able to end the threat on an incomplete pass with 1:33 remaining.

The victory is Veterans’ fourth straight in the rivalry and gives it a 4-3 advantage in the overall series.

Three who mattered

Leyton Pinckney: Veterans’ junior quarterback showed his continued development this season, proving extra efficient on completing the underneath routes as he totaled 11-of-21 passing for 144-yards.

Bagley: After starting just 1-of-6 passing in the first half, Bagley caught fire. He completed 5-of-8 down the stretch for 107-yards, with 68 yards coming in the fourth quarter.

Landon Quarles: Veterans’ short-yardage specialist proved to be the just that. He carried only five times in the contest, but two of them went for the first pair of Warhawks’ touchdowns in the game.

Turning point

Bagley’s heave down the left sideline sailed out of bounds with 1:33 to go. Perry had driven to the Veterans 17 yard line, but went backwards on a late hit call.

They said it

Veterans head coach David Bruce on Perry’s late effort: “I tip my cap to them. They came to play, and they got after our behinds. Every time we gained a little momentum, they came right back and answered the call. I give (Perry head coach Carl) Dixon and his staff a lot of credit.”

Bruce on his team’s key defensive stop: “Defensively in the second half, we didn’t play as well as we should have. We still only gave up 14 points, but they were 14 more than we could afford. But, I am proud of the way they came through and bowed their neck up at the end when we had to have it. It wasn’t pretty, but we’ll take it every day.”

Bruce on finishing a tough non-region schedule at 3-3: “I feel like it got us ready for the region schedule. We’ve got a very good Bainbridge team coming up in two weeks, and we have to get prepared to travel down there and try to find another way to win.”

What’s next?

Perry hosts Dougherty on Friday while Veterans is off before facing Bainbridge.

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