It was the Chubba Purdy show for visiting Perry High in the 6A football quarterfinals Friday, as they upset No. 3 Desert Vista, 49-20.
The No. 6 Pumas advance to the 6A semifinals on Friday against No. 3 Pinnacle. It is the Pumas’ third straight semifinal appearance. The Pioneers beat Perry, 59-33, in the first game of the season.
Purdy, Perry’s junior quarterback, was a menace Friday throwing and running with 296 passing yards, 138 rushing yards and four touchdowns. While the Thunder’s defensive line got to him for a few sacks, Purdy often rolled out of the pocket to extend plays.
Desert Vista’s defense had pushed opposing offensive lines around all season, but Purdy’s elusiveness and quick feet took away the pass rush.
“I don’t look at them,” Purdy said of the pass rushers. “I just know they’re there, and I know my O-line will step up and block them. I knew I was going to have to run it and throw it outside the pocket.”
If Purdy wasn’t scared by Desert Vista’s defensive line, especially Thunder senior Brett Johnson, Perry coach Preston Jones was.
“I don’t know if there’s a better one than him in the state,” Jones said of Johnson. “He is a stud, and they played a little bit different defensive front that we weren’t prepared for as much.
“We really didn’t want to mess with them until they got a little fatigued.”
The Pumas scored touchdowns on their first three drives, mostly behind runs by Purdy and running back Jalen Young to the outside, mixed with play-action passes to keep the defense honest. Before seven minutes had elapsed, Perry had 21 points and Desert Vista had not earned a first down. Desert Vista did not complete a pass until midway through the second quarter.
“It was tough, but we really didn’t put our heads down at all,” said Thunder corner Kaleo Bright. “Our coaches told us they were going to score, so it was something we were prepared for. I think it showed, too, because we came out and played a lot better in the second and third quarters.”
Desert Vista had its chances. Down by 15 points with less than a minute left in the first half, the Thunder had the ball inches from the end zone for what seemed like an easy touchdown. However, rather than cut the lead to just a touchdown, quarterback Parker Navarro threw a jump- ball that Perry intercepted and the Pumas ran out the half.
“No team ever wants to not score when you’re that close, but it was just another opportunity for us to make a comeback, and we never gave up on it,” DV freshman running back Devon Grubbs said.
But according to Purdy, “That interception was huge to keep our lead like that at the half. Our defense played so well for us all night.”
Desert Vista seemed ready to mount a comeback when Grubbs finished off a long drive early in the fourth quarter with a 13-yard touchdown run. That cut the Puma lead to 28-20 with 10:07 left.
Perry’s offense kicked back into gear and scored three touchdowns in the final period. The Pumas’ lead reached 42-20 and the game was all but over.
Jones gave much of the credit for the victory to his scout team because Desert Vista runs a detail-oriented offense with a lot of hand signals and movement. He said the scout team did a tremendous job preparing the Perry defense for several situations that came up in the game.
“We told them if we win this game it will be because of you guys, and if our defense does well it was because of you guys,” Jones said.
Jones said his group is ready for a shot to reverse its fortunes.
“They took it to us, and they’re a really good football team. So, we’re excited to get the opportunity to go back and try to play them again,” Jones said.
Desert Vista ends its season 10-2.
Perry 49, Desert Vista 20
Perry 21 7 0 21 – 49
Desert Vista 7 6 0 7 – 20
PER – Young 12 run (Cross kick), 9:43.
PER – Burns 5 run (Cross kick), 6:35.
PER – Purdy 9 run (Cross kick), 5:33.
DV – Humphrey 32 run (Lewis kick), 1:25.
PER – Purdy 8 run (Cross kick), 9:40.
DV – Ervin 65 pass from Navarro (kick failed), 3:35.
DV – Grubbs 13 run (Lewis kick), 10:07.
PER – Dickie 23 pass from Purdy (Cross kick), 9:21.
PER – Young 43 pass from Purdy (Cross kick), 6:09.
PER – Hill 3 run (Cross kick), 0:46.
Perry Desert Vista
First downs 24 11
Rush-yards 45-226 37-167
Comp-App-Int 17-23-0 10-23-2
Pass yard 302 199
Total yards 528 366
Fumbles/lost 2/2 3/1
Penalties 6-66 7-53
Perry – Purdy 17-138, Young 13-52, 9-49, Hill 6-39. Desert Vista – Humphrey 10-70, Grubbs 16-63, Navarro 10-30, Thomas 1-4.
Perry – Purdy 17-23-0, 302 yards. Desert Vista – Navarro 10-23-2, 199.
Perry – Young 5-95, Burns 3-50, Boyd 2-18, Patterson 1-49, Dickie 3-40, Young 1-37, Schmitz 1-9, Miller 1-4. Desert Vista – Ervin 3-127, Belnap 3-20, Thomas 1-17, Shepardson 1-15, Humphrey 1-15, Delgado 1-5.