Peninsula High football Coach Gary Kimbrell didn’t plan to revise his lineup, but he was left with no alternative in a 20-8 nonleague victory against Lakewood Thursday night.
Running back James Durroh and quarterback Brian Reed, who helped the Panthers to a share of the 1992 Bay League title, were unable to finish the game because of injuries.
Durroh, a Times All-South Bay selection as a junior, aggravated an ankle injury early in the fourth quarter. Reed was carried from the field late in the first half with a possible fractured ankle.
But senior Tony Persichina and junior Peter Krogh stepped forward.
Persichina, a 5-foot-10, 180-pound running back, rushed for a game-high 84 yards in 12 carries and scored a touchdown. Krogh, a receiver, scored on 15-yard reverse, which gave the Panthers (1-0) a 20-8 lead with 8 minutes 48 seconds to play.
“You have to expect injuries are going to happen during the season,” Persichina said. “We have a talented team and we were able to suck it up and stick together.”
Peninsula scored on two of its first three possessions to open a 14-0 second-quarter lead against Lakewood, last season’s Moore League runner-up.
The Panthers took the opening kickoff and drove 58 yards in 12 plays capped by a one-yard plunge by Durroh.
Peninsula attempted only one pass during the 6:22 drive. Durroh, who carried eight times, and Persichina combined for all 58 yards.
Durroh, who has been bothered because of a sprained ankle in practice, finished with 68 yards in 21 carries. He left the game as a precaution and expects to play Sept. 17 against Compton Centennial.
“I was kind of winded getting the ball so much and (Lakewood) was keying on me,” Durroh said. “I haven’t been practicing and still feel out of shape.”
Persichina appeared to be in peak form as he broke free from several tackles on a 20-yard touchdown run along the right sideline in the second quarter to culminate a 62-yard drive. Keith Harter added the extra point to increase the lead to 14-0 with 3:02 left before halftime. The Panthers used more than five minutes during the 12-play drive.
Lakewood (0-1) scored with 21 seconds to play in the second quarter when quarterback Marquiss Nave connected with Kevin Quijano on a 19-yard scoring pass. Eric Grace plunged in for the two-point conversion to bring the Lancers within 14-8.
Although the Panthers did not return any starters on defense from their ’92 team, they were able to hold Lakewood scoreless in the second half. In the first quarter, Peninsula limited the Lancers to only 10 yards in five plays. For the game, Lakewood lost 11 yards rushing.
Clark Haggans, Harter and Mike Margolf had two sacks each and a fourth-quarter fumble recovery by John Wilbourn at the Lakewood 21-yard line helped set up Krogh’s touchdown.
“Offensively, I knew what we could do, but the defense was a surprise,” Kimbrell said. “We had a lot of players in new positions.”