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Perry looks to close his high school career with win on his college field

Buffalo, NY- Bennett standout lineman Rashard Perry has dreams dreaming of finding football glory at the Carrier Dome but the Syracuse University commit isn’t thinking about playing for the Orange next year – not yet. The Tigers are loaded again and the state championship is the only target right now. “I’m looking to win,” he said after Friday’s dominating 36-7 win over Clarence at All High Stadium. “Right now I’m not focused on how people see me, nothing like that. I want to win states and that’s all I’m worried about.”

The Tigers got started on the right foot in Class AA action dominating the undersized Red Devils up front and running for more than 400 yards with a large committee backfield. Ja’Meer Thomas, Cureem Hathcock, Shamier Land, Jayden Lewis and quarterback Antonio Davis all picked up rushing TDs against Clarence and Noah McDuffie also ran for 61 yards (and got an interception on defense.)

“It’s a great combination,” Perry said. “We’ve got speed, we got power, we’ve got elusiveness, all of that combination in that group. Bennett improved to 1-1 overall, coming off a Week 1 overtime loss to Erie power McDowell. An even bigger challenge awaits as the Tigers travel to Youngstown, Ohio to take on Austintown-Fitch, which is already 5-0.

“Finch is a powerhouse program,” Bennett coach Steve McDuffie said. “I know I like my guys and they like their guys and we’re just going to put our cleats on the ground, line up and give them our best shot and try to make all of Western New York proud of us.” And Bennett has plenty of talent too as Perry is one of at least four Tigers planning on playing Division I college ball starting next year. Jayden Lewis committed to the University at Buffalo. Demari Clemons has offers from UB and Syracuse and Thomas has an offer from Akron.

For Perry, the choice was clear after his visit. “Of course I’m excited,” the 6-foot-2 262-pound Perry said. “There are a lot of reasons … the defense; it’s close to home so everybody can come see me play; how they treated me, it’s like a big family and they knew exactly what I wanted to do when I got there. Everything was just great.” Perry committed to Syracuse in April after a dominant junior season that saw the Bennett reach the state championship game. He led the state last season with 23 sacks and showed his dominance against Clarence on Friday with 11 tackles, three for loss.

“I’m really happy for Rashard Perry,” McDuffie said. “I’ve always told him what he does in private, he’ll be rewarded for in public. That work ethic speaks for itself when you see him get on the field and play. Like I told his mother and father three years ago: ‘Get ready for a heck of a ride. It’s going to be big things for that kid in his future.’”

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