BY YANEEK SMITH, BEACON CONTRIBUTOR
PERKINS TWP. — Four turnovers, costly penalties and three missed extra points did Port Clinton in as the Redskins lost, 21-20, to Perkins at Firelands Regional Health System Stadium on Friday night.
Port Clinton (2-1) jumped out to a 12-0 lead before the Pirates (2-1) rallied to tie the score at 14-14. Perkins took the lead for good on a 13-yard touchdown run by Collin Nemitz late in the third quarter.
The go-ahead score came on a two-play, 29-yard drive. The great field position was set up because of two personal fouls on Port Clinton on a punt, putting the Pirates at the 29.
Following the final Pirate touchdown, the ‘Skins responded, driving 53 yards in 12 plays and scoring when Cam Gillum (17-of-31 passes, 161 yards, TD, 4 INT) connected with Josh Hurst (6 catches, 59 yards, TD) for a 14-yard touchdown. But the critical extra point was blocked, and Perkins maintained a 21-20 lead.
Port Clinton had two more possessions, but both drives ended in interceptions.
“They had a great game plan against us. At this point in the season, everyone is identified, and they bracketed Josh Hurst. Tyler Webb still did well, we put Josh in the slot, and we put up 260 yards of total offense and scored two touchdowns,” said Port Clinton coach Beau Carmon. “It was poor execution.
“I thought our matchups were there. Garrett (Cornell) ran for five yards per carry, and we got our first rushing touchdown of the year.
Carmon said he hopes to get improved play from his offensive line and defense.
“I think the offensive line is not engaging and people are falling off blocks. I’m a run-first and a pass-second guy. We RPO (run-pass option) a lot, we give Cam room to throw the ball out on the perimeter, and I thought our perimeter blocking took a step back,” Carmon said.
“Some of that goes back to play calling. I like to target Hurst, Webb, (Adam) Thorbahn, and (Anthony) Aukerman. It’s like a broken record, we have to become multi-dimensional. Cam still threw for 160 yards, but he threw four interceptions, some of which were not his fault. You can’t bank on throwing the ball in high school football.
“I think our tackling was average, at best. Teams are getting yards after contact against us. I think Nemitz ran 30 times for 105 yards; our perimeter tackling has been okay. We didn’t play a bad game, we just made mistakes at the wrong times,” he said.
“Our defense has scored four touchdowns in three games. It’s hard to point the finger at the defense, but you can point the finger at our offense. Perkins is a good team — if you make that many mistakes against them, you’re going to pay.”
The ‘Skins took a 6-0 lead when Cashes Jackson intercepted a pass and returned it 36 yards for a score, but the PAT was missed. Owen Auxter’s 2-yard touchdown run late in the first quarter made it 12-0.
Perkins wide receiver Drake Venerucci (4 catches, 98 yards, 2 TD) caught a touchdown pass to cut the deficit to five points, and Thorbahn sacked Logan Lesch in the end zone for a safety, making it 14-7 at halftime.
Port Clinton now finds itself 2-1 following a tough early schedule.
“We’ve played three really good football teams,” Carmon said. “It’s tough to open up with three games like that. We’re in good shape, we’re healthy.”
The ‘Skins host Toledo Bowsher (0-3) on Friday at 7 p.m. at True-Lay Stadium.
“It will be interesting to see how we bounce back from this,” said Carmon. “Bowsher has played three good teams.”