BY YANEEK SMITH,
PORT CLINTON — Despite the final score being so lopsided, Port Clinton had its chances in the first half to compete with Bellevue, but the Redmen controlled the Redskins and won, 35-0.
Bellevue, a perennial playoff contender, simply made the plays when it mattered most. The Redmen (1-0) took the opening kickoff and drove 73 yards in seven plays, scoring on an 18-yard touchdown run by running back Justin Mayes. Hunter Nottke’s first of five extra points made it 7-0.
Later in the first quarter, the Redskins (0-1) drove to the Bellevue 26-yard line and faced a fourth-and-4, but a delayed handoff to Cooper Stine got just three yards and lost the ball on downs. The Redmen proceeded to drive 77 yards in eight plays — including four quarterback draws — as Keegan Ray accounted for 44 rushing yards. Mayes finishing off the scoring drive from two yards out on third-and-goal to make it 14-0 in the second quarter.
Port Clinton moved the ball on its ensuing possession, driving 61 yards in 10 plays before stalling at the Bellevue 1. On fourth-and-goal, Stine went under center, but the snap was fumbled and lost to the Redmen.
“We weren’t able to stop them offensively. They controlled the line of scrimmage. The only time we were able to move the ball consistently was passing the ball,” said Port Clinton coach Beau Carmon. “We played a team that was better than us, their program is better than ours. We had 12 rushing yards, (and) you can’t expect to win many games doing that.
“We did some nice things. I think Colton is throwing the ball a lot better than in the past, and we had one turnover for the game. I think we only had three penalties on the night. We’re playing as hard as we possibly can. We watch film, and guys aren’t taking plays off, but had a number of missed assignments. Physically, some of our guys might not be ready to play football on Friday nights yet.”
Holding a 14-point lead, Bellevue effectively put the game out of reach as it drove 97 yards and scored on a 57-yard pass from Ray to Jack Fitzerald with 2:49 to play in the first half to make it a 21-0.
On the next play from scrimmage, Redmen defensive back Evan King picked off Colton Klima and returned it to the Redskin 25. Two plays later, Ray scored on a 2-yard run to push the lead to 28 points.
Port Clinton, meanwhile, is somewhat inexperienced. The Redskins have a freshman and two sophomores on the offensive line, and a number of other young players are seeing playing time. With a challenging schedule that features Norwalk, Rossford and the Sandusky Bay Conference’s Bay Division, Port Clinton is going to have to raise its level of play.
“There’s tremendous learning curve. Not just mentally, but physically. Bellevue has a very good defense. I hope that’s one of the best defenses we face all year,” said Carmon. “In seven years, I think I can count only two times that we’ve been shut out. It stings, it’s embarrassing, no one wants to have a running clock. But we’re not going to use excuses. Our seniors aren’t interested in that. Offensively, we just have to give our defense a chance by putting points on the board.”
This Friday, the Redskins host Rossford, which is 1-0. Port Clinton has won the last three games between the two teams.
“They’ve got a great quarterback. They’re coming off a really nice win over Swanton and Todd Drusback is a great coach,” said Carmon. “It’s a great opportunity for us. I think our guys are going to step up. We need to elevate our game, we can’t worry about (other teams).”