Michael Zarich
ASU Student Journalist

Perry prepares for final three regular season games against 6A powerhouses

October 12, 2023 by Michael Zarich, Arizona State University

Perry huddles at practice (Michael Zarich photo/AZPreps365)

Michael Zarich is a student journalist at Arizona State University assigned to cover Perry High School for AZPreps365.com

Fresh into its bye week, Perry will return to play thereafter against three one-loss opponents before the playoffs. 

The Pumas will have their next two home games against Williams Field (5-1) on Oct. 20, perennial powerhouse Chandler on Oct. 27, and will travel to defending Open Division champion Basha on Nov. 3 for the regular season finale.

In this week's 6A rankings, Williams Field is 11th, and Perry's 6A Premier region rivals Chandler and Basha are fourth and third, respectively.

Perry is using this bye week as an advantage to rest up and attack the final games of the season. 

"We've been mainly fine-tuning this week at practice, going back to the basics, especially the little things that could possibly cost us a game in the last three," Perry head coach Joseph Ortiz said.

"We've been working on deep balls, ball security, sharpening our routes, and the defense going hard in pursuit and really just resting our bodies for the final stretch and into the playoffs." 

After Perry's three straight losing seasons, Perry has rebounded this year on a 6-1 campaign which has them fourth in the region, and currently 15th in the 6A poll. They began the season on a five-game win streak before Sept. 29 when Perry's other region rival Hamilton snapped it, 59-34.

Ortiz has completely rebuilt the culture at Perry after a 4-6 record in his first season in 2022 and a lot of that could be because of his intensity and attention to detail in practice. 

"As a team, we're a close group and we talk together before each practice and game," says Perry junior quarterback Diesel Taylor. "We know our weaknesses and our strengths better than anyone which helps us attack them and puts us in great positions to succeed."

While each game counts the same, Basha is the team that sticks out the most and means more to Perry in the Chandler/Gilbert area. 

"That's our rival school, the team South on Val Vista. There's a lot of talk going around right now but we'd love to beat them more than anything," says Taylor.

It'll be an exciting next few weeks for the Pumas in what could help shape the 6A and Open playoff picture.