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Bishop Verot punches ticket to regional final, 28-7

Vikings defense flies around in playoff victory

November 15, 2019
By CJ HADDAD ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Bishop Verot punched its ticket to the Class 3A Region 3 final Friday night as its defense led the way to a 28-7 victory over Benjamin at Viking Stadium.

The Vikings forced six Buccaneer turnovers, including four interceptions and two fumble recoveries.

"Great job by our defense tonight," said Verot Head Coach Josh Vogelbach. "They just do what they do every week. Defense wins championships."

Article Photos

Bishop Verot senior Nick Perez ran for two touchdowns and passed for another during the Vikings' 28-7 win Friday night. To view more photos from the game, see the Cape Coral Breeze Facebook page.

Verot (9-2) forced its first turnover on just the third play of the game, as Dylan Insolia recovered a Benjamin fumble, setting up the Vikings on their opponent's 22-yard line.

Senior quarterback Nick Perez found the end zone six plays later on a 4-yard run, putting the home team on top 7-0 in the first quarter.

Benjamin (8-4) struck back in the second when junior quarterback Santino Marucci ran one in from 3 yards out to knot the game 7-7.

On the ensuing possession, Verot answered right back with a seven-play, 79-yard drive, capped off by another Perez rushing touchdown, this time from 5 yards out to give the Vikings the lead -- one they would not relinquish.

Perez had excellent blocking as he turned the right corner and into the end zone.

Verot did have turnover issues of its own, giving the ball back to Benjamin a whopping seven times, but the defense stepped up to the plate time and time again.

For example, Verot fumbled a punt back to the Buccaneers late in the second quarter, but defensive coordinator John Mohring's bunch wouldn't give an inch back to its foe.

Three straight incompletions were followed up by a Marc Taglieri Jr. sack, turning Benjamin over on downs, giving the Vikings the ball back. They would make the most of the opportunity.

The biggest play of the game came when senior wide-out Brock Gee caught a pass up the middle from Perez, broke two tackles to stay on his feet and continued into the end zone for a 40-yard touchdown and a 21-7 Viking lead.

"Brock made a great play," Vogelbach said.

The score came with just 25 seconds to go in the half, and the crowd and Viking players fed off the energy of a two-score lead.

A scoreless third quarter that included turnovers from each team meant Benjamin would have to put some points on the board if the Buccaneers wanted to keep their season alive.

Verot's defense sure had something to say about that, as the Buccaneers failed to put together another scoring drive.

Verot put the nail in the proverbial coffin when senior running back/linebacker Brandon Peck, who wreaked havoc all night, did what he does best, and that's score at the goal line. Peck walked into the end zone early in the fourth quarter from 2 yards out, giving Verot a 28-7 lead.

Marucci threw interceptions on his next two pass attempts, one going to senior stand-out linebacker Derrick Erickson, and the other, a head-turning one-handed pick from Insolia.

Junior Tyree Cherry tacked on the fourth interception for Verot in the end zone late in the fourth quarter.

"They'll take us as far as we're going to go," Vogelbach said of his defensive unit.

The Vikings held a very talented Marucci to just 8-of-24 passing for 103 yards and the four interceptions. He did rush for 66 yards on 18 attempts.

Perez was 7-of-9 through the air for 107 yards and ran for 53 more, including the two touchdowns.

Junior wide-out Malik Curtis also stepped up big time in the backfield and lining up as a receiver. He had over 70 yards of total offense.

Big-time playmaker Tequon Chatman was kept in check for most of the night.

Vogelbach said the team has a myriad of options to rely on if one facet of the game isn't working as well as they'd like.

"We move guys around. We have a lot of weapons offensively," Vogelbach said. "You can try to take one away, but you can't take them all away. Malik (Curtis) stepped up tonight, Brock (Gee) stepped up tonight, Carson (Powers) had a big catch, so, it's all good."

Next week, Verot will host Clearwater Central Catholic High School, as it upset the No. 1 seeded Berkeley Prep in three overtimes, giving No. 2 seed Verot the home field advantage.

"We've just got to keep getting better," Vogelbach said. "The name of the game is survive and advance, any way we can do it. We've got to tweak some things on offense. We're looking forward to the opportunity."

-Connect with this reporter on Twitter: @haddad_cj

BENJAMIN 0 7 0 0 -- 7

BISHOP?VEROT 7 14 0 7 -- 28

1st Quarter

BV: Nick Perez, 4-yard run (Deaglan Camron kick), 7:54

2nd Quarter

B: Santino Marucci, 3-yard run (Marco Chojnacki kick), 7:27

BV: Perez, 5-yard run (Camron kick), 4:09

BV: Brock Gee, 40-yard reception from Perez (Camron kick), :25

4th Quarter

BV: Brandon Peck, 2-yard run (Camron kick), 11:56



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