BY YANEEK SMITH, BEACON CONTRIBUTOR
PORT CLINTON — Port Clinton quarterback Cam Gillum had a monster game on Friday night, scoring four touchdowns in the Redskins’ 58-13 victory over visiting Vermilion.
The sophomore built on his performance in Port Clinton’s win over Edison in week two as he completed 10-of-14 passes for 156 yards and three touchdowns. He also scored on a 5-yard touchdown run.
His performance was a microcosm for Port Clinton’s dominance. The Redskins (2-1, 2-0 Sandusky Bay Conference Bay Division) outgained the Sailors (0-3, 0-2) in total yards, 360-229, and were in control throughout the game.
“The game is slowing down for Cam. Opening with Columbian was tough. He’s learning on the run, and I think a lot of credit goes to him for studying,” said Port Clinton coach Beau Carmon. “He’s an avid student of watching the film. The position he’s in, we expect a high level of performance and quality, and he’s delivered the last few games.
“Our offensive coordinator, Lucas Kennedy, deserves credit. The offense is diverse and he’s not overloading Cam with too much terminology.”
Port Clinton took the lead for good when Westin Laird, who carried the ball nine times for 55 yards and two touchdowns, scored on a 3-yard touchdown run with 10:13 to play in the first quarter to put the ‘Skins up 6-0. Gillum later ran for a 5-yard touchdown and then ran in the conversion to push the lead to 14 points. Following a Vermilion touchdown, Port Clinton scored two touchdowns in the second quarter — the first on a 2-yard run by Laird with 5:09 remaining and the second on a 26-yard pass from Gillum to Adam Thorbahn — which came with just 39 seconds remaining to make it 28-6 at halftime.
Thorbahn, who caught three passes for 51 yards, also scored on a 17-yard touchdown reception with 8:41 to play in the third quarter, effectively putting the game away at 36-6 following the two-point conversion.
“It was a very well-balanced win. We had a lot of kids touch the football and score touchdowns. A lot of kids contributed in all three phases. We had a lot of young kids play and we can evaluate them,” said Carmon.
“I was pleased because we hadn’t been very good in the first few games of establishing dominance on both lines in the first half. We never punted. I can’t remember the last time that happened.
“The players were upset at halftime because they didn’t think they played their best ball,” he said. “We played better in the second half, and the kids were pleased.”
The ‘Skins had a balanced attack, passing for 188 yards and running for 172.
“It’s incredibly important that we want to be balanced. The fact that we have a quarterback that really brings that dual-threat option makes life easier for us. He doesn’t have the arm yet of some of our previous quarterbacks,” said Carmon. “We’ve shown that we can run between the tackles with our running backs and quarterback. We’ve thrown to a plethora of wide receivers. We’re just a very well-rounded team.”
Jonah Sidney, who carried the ball three times for 47 yards, scored on a 33-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, Garrett Cornell intercepted a pass and returned it 54 yards for a score and Marius Pinkelton caught a 32-yard touchdown pass from Anthony Aukerman to close out the scoring.
The Port Clinton defense held the Sailors, who were 0-for-7 on third-down conversions, to just 75 yards rushing.
“Vermilion had a couple of weapons, some nice offensive players. They went down and scored early in the second quarter. Our kids responded and took it very personal and they locked down Vermilion’s offense,” said Carmon. “I think the defense is playing great football and the credit goes to the players and our defensive coordinator, Phil Fought. The kids enjoy playing defense.
“It starts with great communication. They all want to play for one another. They all want to know they can be relied on by their teammates. As the competition gets stiffer, we’ll see how the defense responds.
“We have Willard this week, then Huron and Oak Harbor. Our defense is going to be challenged every game from here on out.”
On Friday, the ‘Skins host Willard, which is 0-3, but Carmon believes the Crimson Flashes will give Port Clinton all it can handle.
“I think Willard is on the rise. They’ve got a good coaching staff. I like their linebackers, they’re two of the better ones in the league,” he said. “They’re huge, and that poses its own problems, and they’re deeper than we are. They’ve got some weapons, they’ve got a heck of a running back and quarterback, and a big offensive line.
If you look at the film, it was 0-0 after the first quarter with Clyde, Huron was up 7-0 after the first quarter against them, and it was only 7-0 after the first quarter against Edison. I’m sure they’re going to find their groove. I think they’re going to be moving up the ladder pretty soon.”