PERRY — Monroe-Albany sloshed through the muck at a wet Herb St. John Stadium and beat Perry 11-0 in a sloppy game similar to the turf it was played on.
“(The players) played hard,” an emotional Perry head coach Carl Dixon said. “They played real hard. The coaches have to coach harder. The coaches aren’t getting it done right now, and we’ve got to pick it up.”
Monroe was clearly in control early. The Tornadoes took the opening kickoff and drove 79 yards in 17 plays to the Perry 1 before an incomplete pass on fourth down to come away empty.
The change in field position paid off on the ensuing Perry series as the Panthers’ snap on a punt sailed high and out of the back of the end zone for a safety and a 2-0 Monroe advantage.
Perry’s problems continued on its next possession after it lost 11 yards on third down to force a punt, which once again resulted in a high snap and a safety for the Tornadoes.
The Panthers’ best chance to get on the board came with just seconds remaining in the half, but Perry’s special team’s woes continued again as Rufus Crane’s 29-yard field goal was blocked.
Perry finished with two blocked kicks, two high snaps and a muffed punt.
“We’ve got to eliminate the mistakes, and we’ve got to get ready for a very, very, very, very good Peach County team in two weeks,” Dixon said.
Despite the mistakes, Perry’s defense kept it in the game until the fourth quarter. Monroe led just 4-0 until tailback Mark Robinson found running room over the right side of the Panthers’ defense for a 3-yard score with 7:42 to go.
“We were on the field too much, and we just got tired,” Dixon said. “We played great defensively. On the first series, they had 20 snaps, and from then on it was either four or five.”
Perry’s offense moved the ball well at times but had too many negative plays to sustain drives.
“We have to have some confidence in what we’re doing,” Dixon said. “We didn’t play terrible, but it seemed like every series we’d make one mistake that would mess us up, and we’ve got to eliminate that one.”