Setting the stage: West Perry won a District playoff game for the first time since 1999—and the first time at home in school history. The No. 8-seed Mustangs (8-3) advance to play No. 1 Bishop McDevitt in round two of the District 3-4A playoffs. The school now has two 1,000-yard rushers in the same season, Terrance Quaker [1,206 yards] and Kenyon Johnson [1,130 yards]—another first in school history.
By Adam Kulikowski:
We caught up with West Perry coach Bob Boden to learn more about the victory.
Boden on the team’s first playoff win since 1999:
"These kids love each other and talk consistently about wanting to keep the season going for as long as we can so we can spend more time together. It is our first playoff win since Musa Smith. And we talked about that. This is our first home playoff win ever. And that was big for our kids. As a program moving forward, you look back on the big losing streak that we had and how much our kids fought through it and rebuilt this program to where it is now. This win is huge. It shows our kids that we could play with anyone. West York is a good team. It is huge for the community, too. It’s nice to go through Perry County and see the signs up wishing us good luck. All the people calling us. It was something I think the community needed."
On the personal meaning of the victory after leading this team through its rebuild:
"It is special to me. These kids, even though it is a team effort. Bob Boden didn’t win all these games. Bob Boden didn’t coach all the stuff we do. My assistant coaches work very hard all year. We all work and the kids buy into that seeing how hard we work. It’s big for me and kinda cool to get the monkey off my back. Sometimes, when you’re 0-26, you question if you’re doing the right things. Our kids never gave up during that losing streak. If our kids didn’t buy into what we were selling then, I probably wouldn’t be here. I’d have been canned, but our kids believed in it and now it is paying dividends. It’s a tribute to the kids that didn’t quit when we had losing seasons. In life you can either quit or you can fight through things and when you fight through things, there’s good stuff on the other side. People give up too easily. But that’s not me, not my staff and not our kids."
On what you saw in West York heading into Friday's game:
"We finally have an offensive line that’s not smaller than our opponents, so we thought they could open holes for us and they did a tremendous job of opening holes for our guys. Ay’juan Marshall is a really good back. He cuts back well. We knew we had to limit him on his cut back plays."
On how the weather affected play:
"It affected both of us. Neither team wanted to throw the ball a whole lot. West York did try some passes, but it solidified what we talked about. We wanted to run the ball. It is nice when that’s already your play. The rain helped out with us. It favored us because we run the ball so well."
On the key point in the game:
"They were knocking on the door [at our 3-yard line in the third quarter with the score 14-8] and Terrance Quaker blitzed through the line and caused 3 to fumble. Jake Fadness recovered it and we took that possession down for a score. That put us up two scores which gave us a bit of a cushion."
On Terrance’s play Friday night after the senior racked up 293 rushing yards on 28 carries [second most in school history], eight tackles, an interception and a forced fumble:
"We’ve always talked about big time players coming up in big in big situations. And he really did. Running the ball, the tackles he made and that strip. He saved it all for that game it seemed. He was explosive. Kenyon was too. Jake had huge runs. Especially late in the game when we were trying to run the clock out, Jake was big. Terrance played his heart out last night. He didn’t want his season to end."
On the Mustang’s tendency to be aggressive in their play calling this season:
"We play to win. I try not to second guess as a coach. You have 20 seconds to get something in and everyone else has two weeks to sit down and breakdown what you did in those 20 seconds. Sometimes, I look back and think. But you know, if it worked, everyone thinks you’re a genus and if it doesn’t, you’re an idiot. That’s part of coaching and we’re going to keep our foot on the throttle because I want to give these kids every chance they can to win."
On Boden’s first impression of Bishop McDevitt who the Mustangs will face on Friday:
"They are the big dog. If you want to do well in Districts, eventually you are going to have to go to the big dog. They are very good. Big up front. Nazir Burnett is a phenomenal receiver. We’re going to have to play very very well to win. Our kids, we’re going to fight and let the chips fall where they may. On paper, we’re going to be big underdogs, but I like it. I like that role."
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