Peru defeats longtime rival Beekmantown, 28-7

Peru's Jack Hayes (7) focuses as he looks to elude a tackle from Beekmantown's Andrew VanNatten (28) during a Champlain Valley Athletic Conference football game, Friday, at the Apple Bowl in Peru. (Joey LaFranca/Staff Photo)

PERU — Peru came out with fire early and jumped out to a quick lead before slowing down the pace of play in the second half but continuing to execute.

The end result was a 28-7 win for the Nighthawks (4-1, 4-0) against Beekmantown (1-5, 1-5) in Champlain Valley Athletic Conference football on Friday at the Apple Bowl.

Zach O'Connell threw two touchdowns to Keegan Smith, and both O'Connell and Smith rushed for a score to lead the way for the Peru offense.

"Before the game, we knew we had to come out on fire," O'Connell said. "We just had to come out fast and had a great first drive and executed very well."

The Nighthawks got on the board early when a no-huddle drive caught the Eagles on their heels and saw O'Connell rush to pay dirt for a 57-yard score just a minute after the game began.

Peru forced a 3-and-out on Beekmantown's ensuing drive and then got right back to it on offense.

"Our defense has been very good," O'Connell said. "We got dogs everywhere, and we make plays. I think this has been the best our defense has been in quite some time."

O'Connell hit Smith for a 17-yard score with 8:24 left in the first quarter.

All the momentum the Nighthawks generated early took a turn for the worst following a fumble on a punt return and an intercepted pass by the Eagles' Andrew VanNatten.

Beekmantown cut its deficit in half when Nate Parliament hit Peyton Viau for a 30-yard touchdown pass with 4 minutes remaining before halftime.

VanNatten picked off O'Connell again on the ensuing drive, but the Peru defense stepped up when Ethan Lawrence grabbed an interception of his own a few plays later.

O'Connell hit Smith for another 17-yard touchdown pass with 19.5 seconds remaining in the second quarter.

"Our defense came up big because Beekmantown was getting the ball in the third quarter, and the stops they had gave us momentum going into halftime," Nighthawks coach Ryon O'Connell said. "If they score, they get the ball in the third quarter and potentially make everything different."

Peru kept its momentum in the second half and capped off the third quarter with an 8-yard run by Smith to the end zone with 26.9 seconds left.

"We knew that we had to get out of the gates early and match Beekmantown's intensity early," Ryon O'Connell said. "I feel that we did that. I was really impressed with the kids' energy in the first quarter. We kind of fizzled out in the second. Give Beekmantown credit for that.

"We went slow in the second half and tried to get first down after first down. I was happy with the kids' intensity."

O'Connell completed 12 of 17 passes for 155 yards, while Jack Hanson totaled a game-high 128 yards on the ground.

Smith led the Nighthawks with five catches for 84 yards.

Parliament passed for 130 yards on nine of 20 completions, and Connor Barber finished with 60 receiving yards.

In Week 7, Beekmantown hosts Ticonderoga at 7:30 p.m., Friday, Oct. 22, and Peru will play Saranac Lake. A time and date of that game has not been determined.

For now, the Nighthawks will enjoy the victory on homecoming weekend.

"There were a lot of people here tonight, and it's a great atmosphere for the kids," Ryon O'Connell said. "That's the way CVAC football needs to be."

Peru 28, Beekmantown 7

BCS 0 7 0 0 — 7

PCS 14 7 7 0 — 28

First Quarter

PCS- O'Connell 57 run (Smith kick), 11:00.

PCS- Smith 17 pass from O'Connell (Smith kick), 8:24.

Second Quarter

BCS- Viau 30 pass from Parliament (Jolicoeur), 4:00.

PCS- Smith 17 pass from O'Connell (Smith kick), 19.5.

Third Quarter

PCS- Smith 8 run (Smith kick), 26.9.

Individual Statistics

Rushing

BCS- Barber 6-16; Parliament 8-11; Tetreault 1-1. Totals: 15-28.

PCS- Hanson 11-128; O'Connell 14-95, TD; Hayes 6-21; Tyrell 3-12; Smith 5-9, TD. Totals: 39-265, 2TD.

Passing

BCS- Parliament 9-20-1-130, TD.

PCS- O'Connell 12-17-2-155, 2TD

Receiving

BCS- Barber 3-60; Viau 3-42, TD; VanNatten 3-28.

PCS- Smith 5-84, 2TD; Ro. Hebert 3-37; Tyrell 1-16; Ri. Hebert 1-12; Engstrom 1-3; Daniels 1-3.

Interceptions

BCS- VanNatten 2.

PCS- Lawrence.

Email Joey LaFranca:

jlafranca@pressrepublican.com

Twitter: @JoeyLaFranca

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