There were more penalties than points Friday night at Gila Ridge.
Gilbert-Perry distanced itself from the Hawks early and held on for a 27-6 win in a flag-laden game at Veterans Memorial Stadium.
The two teams combined for 36 penalties – 19 for 128 yards for Gila Ridge and 17 for 123 yards for the Pumas, not including multiple off-setting penalties.
"We couldn't run three or four plays without getting a penalty," Gila Ridge junior Brandon Kehl said.
For a team like Perry, which runs a hurry-up, no-huddle attack, the flags killed any rhythm on offense.
"I think I'd be lying if I said it didn't affect our rhythm," Perry coach Preston Jones said. "Our goal is to go pretty quick to wear them out and we were unable to do that because nearly every play there was a penalty. It was hard to get any kind of rhythm.
"We don't even do that in practice. We stood around more tonight than a month of practice."
The loss drops Gila Ridge to 0-3 for the first time in school history and extends the Hawks' losing streak to the Pumas to five.
Kehl was the main bright spot for the Gila Ridge offense, which scored its first touchdown of the season midway through the fourth quarter. Kehl, who suffered a concussion in the first quarter last week against El Centro-Central, finished with 144 rushing yards on 23 carries and scored on an 8-yard run on a fourth-and-goal.
After starting the year at quarterback for the Hawks, Kehl was predominantly used as a running back against the Pumas, something Gila Ridge coach Tom Hurt could see happening more this season.
"He's just so doggone aggressive and he wants to run the ball," Hurt said. "He's a good quarterback but there's nothing wrong with him running the ball. We need a spark on offense and he certainly has that spark."
Kehl said Hurt approached him last week to make the switch but the junior declined. But in Week 3, Kehl was more open to the change.
"We decided that if I can run the ball effectively, why not just hand the ball off to me?" Kehl said. "So we planned this all week to switch back and forth between running back and quarterback. I thought I ran the ball somewhat effectively and if that's where I stay, that's where I'll stay."
The Hawks had a chance to score again in their final drive of the game, but once again were doomed by penalties. Kehl carried the ball twice to the Perry 1-yard line but both times the Hawks got false starts before an incomplete pass by Gila Ridge quarterback Easton Benedict on a fourth down.
"You never like penalties," Hurt said. "We had the ball on the half-yard line and we jump. We should have scored a touchdown on that one."
But by then, the damage had been done by the Puma offense, which carried a 20-0 lead going into halftime. Junior quarterback Austin Nightingale finished 11 for 14 for 176 yards and two touchdowns – both to junior wide receiver Ben Terhark – in just more than two quarters of play. He also had three rushes of more than 17 yards.
"If we don't give up the long passes, we're right in the game," Hurt said.