PERRY — It took 10 years and a win against a longtime nemesis.
Unfortunately for the Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy football team, it's long-awaited trip to the playoffs was short lived.
The eighth-seeded Royals' 2018 season came to an end after losing to top-seeded Perry 48-34 Saturday in a Division IV, Region 13 quarterfinal game. The contest took place at Perry High School's Alumni Stadium.
CVCA reached the postseason for the first time since 2008 and needed three straight wins and a victory against longtime rival Manchester in Week 10 to play in November.
Despite battling back numerous times against a powerful Pirates' squad, the Royals fell just a bit short.
"Losing sucks because of the seniors we lose," fourth-year CVCA head coach Dan Larlham said. "Each team has its own identity, but this team encapsulates the toughest kids I've ever been around."
The Royals were plagued by a number of penalties, some costly turnovers and inability to shut down Perry's high-powered offense.
Nonetheless, CVCA (7-4), which trailed by as many as 21 late in the third quarter, rallied back to get within striking defense.
In fact, when senior do-everything standout Tre Tucker completed an 18-yard scoring pass on third and 16 to junior wide receiver Andre' Price, the Royals were down just seven (41-34) with less than seven minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.
Perry (10-1), winners of nine straight games, got a touchdown with 1 minute, 20 seconds left and senior defensive back Jake Reid picked off a pass on CVCA's final possession to seal the win.
After the game, Larlham had nothing but praise for his 11 seniors.
"I put them through everything they could go through," he said. "They never backed off. It's not just the losses. It was the lifting, the sprints, the playing hurt. They really embodied Christ's masculinity."
Tucker also had TD rushes of 5 yards and 1 yard, respectively, and he caught a 25-yard scoring pass from sophomore quarterback Michael Bevington, who also completed a 17-yard pass to senior wide receiver Josh Junko.
An interception and a fumble led to 10 first-half points by the Pirates.
As a result, the game took a wrong turn for the Royals in the second quarter.
Leading 6-3, Perry scored 21 straight points to take control. Pirates' sophomore running back Jaylen Anderson had a 45-yard touchdown run to give the Pirates the lead for good and added a 5-yard scoring plunge later in the quarter.
After Anderson's first TD, things got away from CVCA.
Just three plays after the score, the Royals fumbled and Perry senior linebacker Cameron Rogers picked up the loose pigskin and raced 47 yards into the end zone untouched.
Pirates' senior kicker Sampson Agostine, who booted 24- and 34-yard field goals, respectively, in the second, was true on all five of his extra point attempts.
Perry junior quarterback Drew Schiano completed TD passes of 14 and 4 yards, respectively, to junior wide receiver Anthony Rosati.
Senior wide receiver Jacob Allen putting the finishes touches for the Pirates’ win with a 3-yard TD run. Allen rushed for 44 yards during the possession and picked up two first downs to eat up more of the clock.
Reporter Frank Aceto can be reached at 330-541-9444, firstname.lastname@example.org or @FranAceto_RPC.