LEMOORE – With an offense sputtering after a quarter and a half of football, senior wide receiver Allen Perryman knew he had to get something going for the Lemoore Tigers.
Perryman did just that with just over four minutes left in the second quarter as an end-around to the left side turned into a 69-yard touchdown run that kick-started the Tigers’ offense en route to a 35-0 win over El Diamante.
“I think we came out flat and we needed to wake up,” Perryman said. “So we got in the huddle and said it’s time to go. It’s time to start making plays.”
Perryman’s score sent a jolt through the Lemoore sidelines as the Tigers seemed to switch it to another gear on both sides of the ball.
Lemoore got the ball back late in the second quarter inside the Miners’ 20-yard line after a blocked punt. Moments later, junior quarterback Logan Ahlin found the end zone on a 5-yard scamper to put Lemoore up 14-0 with 1:33 left in the first half.
The Tigers weren’t done scoring before the half, however.
On the ensuing kickoff, the Lemoore special teams unit forced a fumble and recovered it inside the 15-yard line and with 33 seconds left in the half, Ahlin found Perryman in the end zone for a 6-yard touchdown pass to put the Tigers up 21-0 entering the half.
Lemoore’s special teams made another big play in the third quarter as senior return man Roger Wilson returned an El Diamante punt 40 yards for a touchdown to put the Tigers up 28-0.
Lemoore added a final score for good measure later in the quarter as Ahlin and Perryman once again connected through the air, this time with a 9-yard touchdown pass to take a 35-0 lead and eventual win of the same score.
Tigers’ head coach Shannon Pulliam said his offense had been clicking well the past four or five games, but El Diamante’s defense was giving them issues in the first quarter.
“They did a good job against us in the first quarter,” Pulliam said. “Once we started clicking offensively, it wasn’t a matter of changing anything up or doing anything different, it was just a matter of executing.”
The play that ignited the Tigers’ sideline was the 69-yard scamper by Perryman that got the scoring started for Lemoore, Pulliam said.
“He has the ability to do that almost every time he touches the ball,” Pulliam said. “When a kid like that has that athletic ability and makes a play like that, it just raises the level of awareness in the game and our kids respond to that.”
Perryman was quick to acknowledge that while he may have had a good performance against El Diamante where he scored three touchdowns, he’s not the only Tiger opposing teams should worry about.
“We all make plays,” Perryman said. “That’s what we do. We have a bunch of talent on this team and that’s how we put points on the board.”
Lemoore heads into the final week of Western Yosemite League play in a showdown with Hanford who is also undefeated in the WYL.
In order to come out victorious and with an outright WYL title, his team will need to play some of its best football of the season, Pulliam said.
“We have to take care of the ball,” Pulliam said. “Joseph McDaniel is a tough, hard runner. We got to gang tackle him and make sure we’re making plays and keep them out of the end zone.”
Perryman is excited about the WYL title coming down to the wire against Hanford and knows it’ll be a good game.
“It’s always the biggest game of the year for us,” Perryman said. “We’re just going to wait for the game to come and we’ll be ready for them.”
L — Roger Wilson 40 punt return (Roa kick), 6:02
L — Ahlin 9 pass to A. Perryman (Roa kick), 3:12
RUSHING — El Diamante: Keymonte Williams 1-8, Keylan Liles 19-65, Joey Vink 2-2, Kamarea Stephens 1-4, Drake Beno 2-4, T.J. Wheeler 2-1. Lemoore: Trey Perryman 12-65, Logan Ahlin 5-19, Reggie Davis 3-10, Allen Perryman 1-69, Josh Howeth 2 -(minus) 2.
PASSING — El Diamante: 2-6-0-24. Lemoore: Ahlin 8-11-0 62, Howeth 1-1-0 8.
RECEIVING — El Diamante: Matt Kirven-DeLeon 1-10, Stephens 1-14. Lemoore: T. Perryman 2-6, Davis 3-18, Christian Martinez 3-28, A. Perryman 2-18.
Records: El Diamante 4-5, 2-3. Lemoore: 7-2, 5-0.