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Perkins helps Van Buren pull away from Rogers Heritage

by Harold McIlvain | September 11, 2021 at 2:20 a.m.

VAN BUREN -- Sophomore quarterback Bryce Perkins continues to surprise his Van Buren teammates and coaches with his athletic ability. It was apparent on a key first-half play Friday night at Blakemore Field.

Perkins retreated toward the edge of the field after a heavy pass rush then raced down the sideline making room for a 12-yard touchdown throw.

Van Buren didn't look back after that in a 35-13 victory against Rogers Heritage in a nonconference matchup.

"I was yelling at him to throw it out of bounds," Van Buren Coach Crosby Tuck said. "I wanted him to throw it away. I'm glad he didn't. That was a very impressive play keeping his eyes down field against a rush."

Van Buren junior wide receiver Chi Henry caught the score to give Van Buren a 28-7 edge with 56 seconds left in the first half. Even Henry didn't think the play was going for a touchdown.

"I was telling him to throw it away, too," Henry said. "But then I looked behind me, and nobody was there. He just tossed it over and I caught it. I just need to slip away and he always delivers."

Henry finished with 5 catches for 106 yards and 3 touchdowns -- all in the first half for Van Buren (3-0).

Perkins finished 22-of-27 passing for 288 yards and 4 touchdowns. He also had 4 rushes for 39 yards with a touchdown. He guided the team to four consecutive touchdown drive to open the game all ending with touchdown passes from him.

"He is killing it right now," Henry said of Perkins. "Coming into the season, he knew people doubted him. He is playing so well and taking it all in. We are so proud of him and the plays he is making."

It has been a special season for Henry, too, and it continued Friday following a school-record 260 receiving yards last week against Alma. He was a big part of the Pointers moving to 3-0 for the first time since 2010.

Henry entered the game second in the state in receiving yards with 383 and tied for first in interceptions with two. He added to those numbers in a big way Friday.

Henry moved past Taylor Stockemer (14), Jaylynn Dye (15) and tied his brother Jaiden Henry for third in the all-time receiving touchdowns in Van Buren history with 16. Chi Henry is now behind Brooks White, who had 17, and Drew White, who finished with 24.

"Right now we are on a roll and we feel really good," Chi Henry said. "Van Buren hasn't been 3-0 in a while. We are out here having fun and playing good together. I'm proud of everybody doing their part."

Heritage (0-2) was guided by Eli Craig running for 124 yards on 16 carries with a touchdown. Quarterback Carter Hensley completed 16 of 33 passes for 140 yards with a touchdown.

Perkins' punctuation to end the first half with a touchdown was a big momentum boost, but Van Buren had a couple other plays in the first half that helped set the tone as well.

Heritage on the opening drive of the game got all the way down to the Van Buren 5 but couldn't come away with points. A penalty didn't help, but the Pointers made the play needed to get off the field on a fourth-and-goal at the 16.

Another key play for the Pointers was during the team's second drive of the game. Tied at 7-7, it appeared Van Buren would have to punt on fourth-and-7 at the Heritage 40. Tuck reached into his bag of tricks for a fake punt pass.

It worked out well. Chanson Henderson found Peyton Pschier for a 13-yard pass and a first down. Van Buren later capped the drive with a 13-yard touchdown pass from Perkins to Jacob Gavelis for a 14-7 lead in the second quarter.

Perkins broke open a scoreless third quarter with a 13-yard touchdown run with 28 seconds left. That made Van Buren's lead 35-7 heading into the fourth quarter.

Print Headline: Van Buren's Perkins leads victory charge


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