Perrysburg junior quarterback Gus Dimmerling had a bad day in practice on Tuesday, and the Southview Cougars paid for it on Friday night.
Dimmerling used equal parts speed, elusiveness, and toughness to push his Yellow Jackets over the top in an impressive road win at Cats Stadium.
A determined Dimmerling and company rallied for a 16-13 victory over preseason favorite Southview in a classic Northern Lakes League battle. Dimmerling led Perrysburg to 16 unanswered points in the second half.
“We knew he had this in him,” Perrysburg coach Matt Kregel said. “It's been a rough couple of weeks for Gus. On Tuesday he didn't execute well. We got on him a little bit. He took it to heart and he came out to play. I think that's the Gus you're going to see the rest of the year.”
PHOTO GALLERY: Click here to see more photos from this game
The victory puts the Yellow Jackets (4-2 overall) in the driver's seat in the NLL race with a 3-0 record. Southview fell to 3-3 and 2-1 in league play.
“It was all dedication and everyone putting their all into it,” Dimmerling said. “Everyone just wanted this win so bad. We were the underdog, especially coming into the season. We worked so hard coming in and we just came out and proved ourselves.”
With his team down 6-3 late in the third quarter, Dimmerling led the Yellow Jackets to the go-head score with a key 25-yard run and then a 12-yard pass. He then helped Perrysburg pick up first downs on two third downs and twice on fourth downs on a decisive drive midway through the fourth quarter.
The Yellow Jackets converted on fourth and goal from the 4 with 5:16 as Dimmerling rolled right and found Nathan Patterson in the back of the end zone for a 16-6 lead.
“It was huge because of the situation we were in,” Patterson said. “Gus Dimmerling did a great job finding me. He's a good quarterback. This was a huge game for us. It's one step closer to the NLL title.”
Dimmerling said he was initially looking for his tailback in the flat.
“Then I was going to run it in, and I realized I couldn't get it in so I looked back and Nate Patterson came across the middle and I had a wide open target and he made a great catch,” he said.
Southview, which outgained Perrysburg 213-194 in total yardage, then made it 16-13 on Griffin McDonald's 19-yard TD strike to J.J. Pinckney with 3:21 left.
But Dimmerling picked up one first down on a 13-yard run. The Jackets sealed it on Kadin Llewellyn's four-yard run for a first down with just over a minute left.
“When they want it that bad they will do anything to win and they went out and did that,” Kregel said. “Without a doubt this [win] is right up there. To beat Southview two times in a row ... it's a great win for the program and community.”
THE BLADE/ANDY MORRISON Enlarge | Buy This Photo
Dimmerling had 52 of his game-high 80 rushing yards in the fourth quarter. He also completed nine of 18 passes for 94 yards.
“We fought as hard as we could knowing that if we won there's a lot more in store,” Dimmerling said.
McDonald connected on 9 of 20 passes for 133 yards for Southview. Pinckney caught four passes for 53 yards. Nate Hall had three for 60 yards. Two impressive field goals of 44 and 36 yards by Kurtis Parsons gave the Cougars a 6-0 lead at the half.
“We had so many opportunities,” Southview coach Jim Mayzes said. “We could have been up 21-0 in the first half. We just shot ourselves in our foot. Everyone had some plays that they could have done better. Coaches are second-guessing themselves too. In a game like this, one play makes all the difference. But hats off to Perrysburg's kids, they did a great job of battling all night long.”
Parsons missed on his shortest attempt of the night with 51 seconds left in the first half. Mayzes said Parsons slipped with his plant foot on the play when he drilled the 29-yard attempt wide right.
Dimmerling sparked the Jackets' surge with a 66-yard punt return. Perrysburg then pulled within 6-3 with 7:45 left in third quarter on Scott Freeman's 24-yard field goal.
After the Perrysburg defense forced a three and out. Dimmerling broke off an impressive 25-yard run to set up Mark Delas’ two-yard TD run. The pass on the two-point conversion failed, but the Yellow Jackets took a 9-6 lead.
Perrysburg then mounted a 17-play drive that took 6:34 off the clock. Instead of going for a field goal, Kregel went for it on fourth down, and his QB converted for the important score.
Mayzes said: “He's a running back and his forte is running the ball, but he threw some pressured passes and stuck some balls in there. He's a winner.”
Southview had just three possessions in the first half but had the ball for 14:42. Perrysburg had only four offensive possessions. The Cougars had 127 yards (70 rushing) at the half to 47 for Perrysburg (26 passing).
The Yellow Jackets host Anthony Wayne (3-3, 2-2) next week.
“One week at a time,” Kregel said.