Perez perfect: North receiver scores 5 TDs in district victory
Buddy Ryan, the former NFL defensive guru for both the Chicago Bears and Philadelphia Eagles, once infamously said of former Minnesota Vikings Hall-of-Fame wide receiver Cris Carter, “All he does is catch touchdowns.”
Well, if that’s the case, Shawnee Mission North senior wide receiver Mason Perez put on an awfully Cris Carter-like performance Friday night in the second round of the Class 6A football district playoffs. All four of Perez’s receptions against Wyandotte went for touchdowns and Perez piled on a punt return touchdown for good measure as he led the Indians to a 69-6 whitewashing of the Bulldogs at Shawnee Mission North District Stadium.
“He doesn’t get the credit he deserves,” said North head coach Dennis Grayless of his senior wideout. “There are some other guys who are on programs that win a little more, but I tell you, I would take my guy over anybody in this league when it comes to just being tough, competing for a ball, and catching the ball. He truly is a total package. He definitely can go to the next level and play football. It’s very reassuring to have that ball down inside the 35-yard line and have number two out there, and if we get a little slow or get a little stale we can get it to him.”
Perez’s four catches totaled 98 yards in receiving and accounted for all of senior quarterback Ryan Theis’ passing yards. Perez scored the Indians’ first touchdown on the first play from scrimmage after senior return man Matt Maynard’s 60-yard kickoff return gave the Indians excellent field position with a first-and-10 on Wyandotte’s 20. Theis then found Perez in the right corner for a 20-yard touchdown and the Indians led 6-0 just 19 seconds into the contest.
Perez caught a 21-yard scoring strike on the Indians’ next possession of the first quarter, powering North to a 14-0 lead after one period.
Perez then scored three times in the second quarter, including a 32-yard punt return for touchdown and North held a commanding lead of 41-0 by halftime. The Indians added a pair of interception returns for touchdowns in the third quarter and cruised to a 69-6 win.
After the game, Perez spoke about his ability to get open in the first half.
“(Assistant) coach (Nick) McGrain planned out some routes on Wyandotte — a little slant and go,” Perez said. “We have a little signal that we do before it. If we really like the way the corners line up then we’ll call it and run it on them. The rest is just catching the ball and basic things.”
Besides Perez, the Indians were led offensively by junior running back Jesse Patterson who finished with 101 rushing yards and one touchdown on 13 carries. Theis ended the game 4-for-8 passing with 98 yards and four touchdowns against just one interception. Senior tailback Brock Burrows carried the ball five times for 35 yards and two touchdowns while senior fullback Mitch Paden toted the rock six times for 55 yards before an injury sidelined him for the second half. Junior tailback Henry Bell added 51 yards on five carries while senior fullback Ryan Ruhulessin carried the ball three times for 32 yards. Both Bell and Ruhulessin averaged more than 10 yards per carry.
The win makes the Indians 2-6 overall and 1-1 in district play. They will travel to Leavenworth next Friday night to battle the Pioneers — also 1-1 in district play — for the final playoff spot from the district.