LAUREL, MS (WDAM) - Laurel took down rival West Jones 23-17 in overtime on Friday – overcoming a 17-7 halftime deficit.
Senior running back Zias Perryman stepped up with 61 crucial rushing yards and two touchdowns – one that tied the game 17-17 and the second clinching the Tornadoes’ win in the extra period.
“We gotta score,” said Perryman, when recalling what he thought as the football was handed off to him. “We need it, gotta have it. Diving in, that’s about all I remember.”
“I had a lot of confidence in Zias,” said Laurel head coach Todd Breland. “He's done that thing a lot. He's broken a lot of tackles and we felt very confident with it. Everybody did their blocks and he got the ball in the end zone.”
Perryman is the type of physical running that reminds folks of 12-year NFL pro Marshawn Lynch.
After rushing for over 1,300 yards and 22 touchdowns last season, Perryman leads Laurel with 559 yards and nine touchdowns in 2018.
Yet, the senior is one of four Golden Tornadoes with at least 200 yards on the ground.
“His physical skills have been there for a long time,” Breland said. “I think now he’s understanding the game of football a lot more with every rep he gets and he’s becoming a better running back.
“Having a quality back like Michael [Terrell] with him and Amir Smith mixing in with those two, it allows us to have strong running backs in the fourth quarter. They all complement each other well. There’s no jealousy among ‘em. They just want to be successful on the field.”
Laurel has turned the last four weeks into four region wins.
The latest a dramatic finish over the Mustangs which gives the Tornadoes confidence headed into the last three weeks of the season.
"It was huge, it did a lot for us,” Perryman said. “I think we're getting better building as a team. It did a lot for us."
“It was a big game,” Breland said. “Obviously, West Jones is a very, very good football team. And we knew the importance of the game, where it puts us in the driver’s seat in the region. However, there’s still three more games to go and they all count as equal games. We’ve got to continue to get better.”