Port Clinton knew it wasn't going to be easy, and it certainly wasn't.
Competing against one of the elite football programs in the state, the Redskins fell, 51-0, to Delphos St. John's on Saturday.
It wasn't as bad as the final score would indicate, however. Port Clinton trailed 16-0 at halftime and missed out on an opportunity to score from inside St. John's 10-yard-line at the end of the second quarter.
But things changed in the second half as the Blue Jays took control of the contest and outscored the 'Skins, 35-0. In the third and fourth quarters, St. John's depth took over as the Blue Jays were able to consistently substitute players while Port Clinton's squad wore down.
“We knew going into the game that it would be tough for us,” Port Clinton head coach Toby Hammond said. “I don't think it was as bad as the score indicated. There were times we played very well and moved the ball. We had a couple of stupid penalties, too. I told the kids, 'We can't turn the ball over.'” The Redskins turned the ball over five times while St. John's had two giveaways.
Blue Jays running back Tyler Jettinghoff helped to establish St. John's rushing attack, running 22 times for 282 yards and four touchdowns (44, 4, 47, 32).
Port Clinton quarterback Addison Rospert finished 16-for-27 with 147 yards and rushed for 34 yards on four attempts. Chris Stokes had seven catches for 74 yards and Brock Moore finished with five receptions for 45 yards. The 'Skins were unable to mount a serious rushing attack, finishing with just 71 yards on 26 carries.
Despite the lopsided defeat, Port Clinton hopes to take something from the loss, having competed against a team that has won six state titles (in Division VI) in the last 15 years.
“It's why we wanted to play them,” Hammond said. “You're not going to get better playing the Little Sisters of the Poor. (And) most of the mistakes are correctable.”
This week, the 'Skins travel to Genoa to face the Comets. Last week, Genoa defeated Oak Harbor, 43-21, and has outscored its opponents 101-28 this season. The Comets have been a model of success over the last five seasons. During that time, Genoa has gone 48-2, won four conference titles and advanced to the playoffs each year. This season, the Comets are led by All-Ohio running back Kyle Nutter who has rushed 39 times for 397 yards (10.2 per-carry) and eight touchdowns. Genoa employs the Wing-T offense (three backs, one receiver) and runs the ball 80-90% of the time.
Despite the fact the Comets have such a potent offense, Hammond is just as concerned about the Comets defense, which has, year in and year out, established itself as one of the best in the region.