November 9, 2012

Peru relying on its defense in playoffs

PERU — The old adage “defense wins championships” has been given merit this late in the football season at Peru.

Nick Damiani’s rugged defense has pitched three consecutive shutouts and averaged just over a touchdown allowed in 10 games this season.

The Indians (10-0) travel to Shenendehowa High School tonight to take on Section II representative Glens Falls at 7 p.m. in the NYSPHSAA quarterfinal round.

“When our defense is able to control the game and tackle well, we’re able to maintain our game plan,” Damiani said. “Our players are excited when they’re on the opposite side of the football, and they know we have to be solid.

“It’s a huge plus to be playing as physical as we have been lately. The key is to get multiple helmets on a kid carrying the football.”

Glens Falls (9-1), which picked up its first Section II Class B championship in 19 years with a 21-14 victory against Schalmont, features a balanced offensive attack.

Joe McMahon, a physical 6-foot-2, 200-pound back, has accumulated 740 yards on 94 carries and seven touchdowns on the year. Fullback Mike LaNoir totaled 73 carries for 490 yards and five end-zone appearances. The two bruisers take the ball predominately out of the I-formation.

“We have to be equally prepared for whoever touches the ball out of the backfield,” Damiani said. “The offense runs a lot of motion. They may start single back but will switch into the I-formation. McMahon has good breakaway speed, and we need to get as many guys to the football as possible.”

While Glens Falls has garnered 1,616 rushing yards as a team, quarterback Cam Girard has tossed 808 yards and 15 touchdowns.

“(Girard) can make plays that will hurt you,” Damiani said. “He’s comfortable in the pocket and steps up well to deliver the ball downfield. He has great field vision and recognizes the coverage.”

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