Perry Central High School got off to a very fast start Friday night in the opening round of the Class 2A playoffs.
The Bulldogs led 14-0 after four offensive snaps and led 35-0 at halftime on their way to a 49-0 victory over visiting Madison St. Joseph Catholic High School.
Perry Central (10-1) scored three touchdowns in the first half of 72 yards or longer, rolled up 418 rushing yards rushing in the game and limited the Bruins (7-5) to a net 149 yards total offense thanks in large part to nine sacks for 79 yards in losses.
“They were a better team than us,” St. Joseph coach Todd Lott said. “Plain and simple.”
The win sent the Bulldogs into a second-round showdown with Taylorsville High School. The Tartars (11-1) advanced Friday night by defeating Bogue Chitto High School 47-7.
Perry Central defeated Taylorsville 26-7 on Sept. 1 in New Augusta to hand the Tartars their only loss of the season. Friday’s 7 p.m. game will be in Taylorsville.
“We know they’re a well-coached football team,” Perry Central coach Chip Bilderback said. “We’re going to have to play well. They’re going to have to play well.
“It’s going to be a great high school football game. I know our kids are going to be excited and going to want it. We don’t mind going on the road. We just look forward to another opportunity, and if you’re in the area, I’d be at that football game.”
Friday night, the Bulldogs unleashed a big-play ground game.
Sophomore running back Chris Sumrall, who had a 50-yard run and a 72-yard touchdown run, ran for 189 yards and two touchdowns. Junior Derrick Hartfield ran for 90 yards on three carries, including an 80-yard scoring run. Senior Jevan Bolton added an 11-yard touchdown run late.
And, as they have all year, seniors Tijuane Bolton and Mckail Sumrall set the tone for Perry Central.
After thwarting a Bruins’ drive that reached the Bulldogs’ 31-yard line on the opening possession fo the game, Bolton ripped off a 31-yard run on Perry Central’s first snap.
Sumrall went around right end for a 25-yard gain and then slipped up the middle on a 13-yard touchdown run to put Perry Central up 7-0.
After allowing a first down before forcing a St. Joseph punt, Perry Central took over at its 28-yard line.
On the first play, Chris Sumrall bolted through the line and into the clear on his 72-yard score to give the Bulldogs a 14-0 lead with 4:21 to play in the first quarter.
“We felt like we had to prove a point,” Mckail Sumrall said of the offense. “We’d been in a slump lately. We had to get that right.”
Perry Central forced another punt early in the second quarter, and Mckail Sumrall field the ball at his own 12, darted to his left before breaking back to the right and outraced the pursuit for an 88-yard punt return and 21-0 lead.
The Bulldogs went up 28-0 when Tijuane Bolton found Tyree Bolton with an 11-yard pass for a score and a 28-0 lead.
St. Joseph saw one of its best drives of the first half come up empty when quarterback Reed Collins was sacked for a 7-yard loss and Perry Central took over at its 32-yard line.
A high snap resulted in a 12-yard loss back to the 20-yard line, but Hartfield set sail around the left side and was gone to put the Bulldogs ahead 35-0 at the half.
Perry Central scored on the first possession of the second half when Mckail Sumrall completed a 15-yard pass to Nekylyn Moody on a halfback-option pass on fourth-and-10, and Jevon Bolton added his fourth-quarter score to cap the scoring.
Mckail Sumrall finished with 63 yards and a touchdown on nine carries, while Tijuane Bolton had 79 yards on eight carries.
Collins completed 11-of-22 for 116 yards for the Bruins. Senior Trey Frierson had four catches for 23 yards, junior Max Harden had three catches for 48 yards and junior Hayden Brice had three catches for 29 yards.
“We had a great week of practice,” Bilderback said. “Our preparation was totally locked in. We knew it was new season and our kids wanted to come out and make a statement, and I think we did that.
“I just can’t say enough about our senior class and this team.”