In victory, Perry overcame an opposing superstar and itself.
Despite penalties and a great individual performance by Casa Grande running back James Colbert, the Pumas began 2011 with the all-important 'W', a 44-28 victory on Friday night.
The Pumas were whistled 11 times for 100 yards in penalties, most of which were holding and false start infractions.
“It’s good to score a lot of points, but that was about as sloppy as I've ever seen a first game," Perry coach Preston Jones said. "As a program over the last five years, we have averaged around 4.5 penalties per game. We are going to get our butts kicked if we do that against a really good team."
It all started well for Perry. The Pumas scored on their first offensive play of the season, a 40-yard touchdown run by quarterback Josh Uhlorn.
But the Cougars answered on their second drive of the game with a 9-yard touchdown run by Colbert, who set himself up with a 60-yard run from about the Cougars' 30-yard line.
“If you miss tackles on him, it will turn into a big play” Jones said.
Unfazed, Uhlorn, the team's only returning starter on offense, continued to guide the Perry offense, and the Pumas responded with a 35-yard touchdown pass from Uhlorn to Logan Watts.
Colbert answered with his second big play of the first half, this time a 52-yard touchdown run to tie the game at 14.
Uhlorn finished the game 16-for-21 for 287 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. Colbert scored three times and had 141 yards rushing for Casa Grande.
“James has great talent, he is capable of taking it to the house at anytime,” Casa Grande coach Keith Brown said. "We just need him to be a little more consistent."
For the rest of the first half, the Puma defense kept Colbert in check while Uhlorn added a 45-yard touchdown pass to Watts. And, after a safety and a 10-yard touchdown run by Reggie Blader, Perry led 30-14 halftime.
Perry ran the ball to use clock while given solid field position as the Casa Grande special teams struggled.
The Pumas led 44-21 at the end of the third quarter and the game slowed down from there with penalties and turnovers, but the Pumas' lead was never in danger.