Opposing quarterbacks must hate staring down the Perry defense. From 6’4” Seth Clare on the defensive line, to Alec Monte in the secondary, there are plenty of senior playmakers on that side of the ball that can leave offensive coordinators up at night.
The defense has given up less than 18 points in each of their first four games. The man in the middle of the stout Puma defense is actually a junior: Case Hatch. He appeared in ten games as a sophomore, and is a catalyst for the defense this year.
“(The defense) has been holding other teams and…that’s a big thing that we need,” Perry Quarterback Austin Nightingale said. “We really didn’t have that that much last year, but we have that this year a lot. You talk to Case Hatch and he’s one of the big leaders on there.”
Hatch and the defense know they are the catalyst for the Puma’s success. While they had their back against the wall in the red zone multiple times against Mountain View Friday night, they did not allow an offensive touchdown.
“We lead our team,” Hatch said. “As long as we stay straight, and we keep our team hyped, lot’s of good will happen.”
While the defense leads the team, Hatch has caught the eye of Nightingale and other seniors as a leader of that unit.
“He’s a big leader. He’s always trying to rally the team together and that is getting everyone hyped up and play as far as they could,” Nightingale said.
And while Hatch has emerged as one of the leaders of the Puma defense, he is taking cues from his older teammates to expand his game.
“I’m just learning how to be disciplined, how to give a perfect effort, how to work hard, and I’m just proud to be a part of a program where I can make a difference.”
Hatch and the Perry Pumas take their punishing defense to Mountain Ridge on September 26th.