BY YANEEK SMITH
BELLEVUE — Port Clinton did a lot of things well in its loss to Bellevue, but the Redmen outlasted the Redskins, scoring two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to rally for the 24-14 victory.
The player of the game was Bellevue receiver Tyler Ray, who caught nine passes for 151 yards and threw for a couple of big plays, including a two-point conversion.
Trailing 14-8 early in the fourth quarter, the Redmen finally began having success running the ball. Backup quarterback Jax LaPata scored on a 3-yard run and starting quarterback Deegan Horn’s pass to Brody Horn for the two-point conversion gave Bellevue the lead for good at 16-14.
The Redmen added another touchdown when Ray caught a 21-yard pass from LaPata later in the fourth quarter.
“I’m very proud of the way that the guys played,” said Port Clinton coach Eric Leuthold. “Offensively and defensively, they did a heck of a job. Our guys got pretty tired at the end of the day, and a couple plays went Bellevue’s way. After evaluating the film a little, there were one or two blocks here or there, and it definitely would’ve helped us out.”
Port Clinton (0-1) took a 7-0 lead in the first quarter when Dagan Meyers took a handoff and cut up the middle to score on a 32-yard run, and Landon Witte then kicked the first of two extra points.
Bellevue (1-0) took an 8-7 lead on a 12-yard pass from Horn to Ray, which followed a 37-yard pass from Ray, who took the handoff on a sweep, throwing to Ashton Martin. Horn then threw to Ray for the two-point conversion.
Port Clinton took back the lead on the first drive of the second half, going ahead, 14-8 when Cam Gillum scored on a 3-yard run. It followed two completions to Adam Thorbahn and seven straight runs by Meyers and Gillum.
Despite going into the half trailing, the ‘Skins held the Redmen to negative-11 yards in the first two quarters.
“Our defensive line and our defense in general did a heck of a job defending the run. Offensively, we put together a pretty nice drive right out of halftime. It’s important being able to respond after halftime, and that was a really good thing to see as well,” said Leuthold. “Bellevue is a very well-coached and physical team, they did a nice job at what they do. I think our kids played a tough game.”
On Friday, Port Clinton travels to face Rossford, which defeated Swanton, 34-0. Last year, the ‘Skins defeated the Bulldogs, 40-14.
“They’re a well-coached team. They had a really nice win against Swanton,” said Leuthold. “They have some very skilled perimeter players, they’ve got a very talented quarterback. Their skill players stand out on offense and defense.”