BY YANEEK SMITH, BEACON CONTRIBUTOR
HURON — Sometimes the best defense is a good offense.
Port Clinton played keep away from Huron’s potent offense on Friday night, and the Redskins had plenty of success in the process, defeating the Tigers convincingly, 31-20, at Huron Memorial Stadium.
Port Clinton (8-1, 4-0 Sandusky Bay Conference Bay Division) ran 71 plays for 434 yards while the Tigers (5-4, 3-1) accumulated just 128 yards of total offense on 34 plays.
“That’s pretty incredible for a football game. I stuck to the ground in the second half, I thought we had an advantage up front. They stopped us at times, it wasn’t a free for all,” said Port Clinton coach Beau Carmon. “We’re happy to be part of the 2021 SBC Bay Division championship.
“It always starts with stopping the run first. Their quarterback leads the league in rushing and is second in passing. You’ve got to put the focus on him. We were able to secure tackles, some of them in the backfield, specifically on the Hohler kids. Once you shut down the running game, it’s difficult to throw in high school.”
Huron opened the game by driving 69 yards in 10 plays, scoring on a 5-yard touchdown pass from Dylan Hohler to Kaden Staley.
But the ‘Skins scored the next 28 points.
Port Clinton went on a 12-play, 68-yard drive and scored on a 1-yard touchdown run by Owens Auxter. Andrew Hanson’s extra point tied the score at 7-7.
Redskin running back Garrett Cornell later scored on a 4-yard touchdown run in the second quarter to give Port Clinton the lead for good. He caught a 42-yard touchdown pass from Cam Gillum to give the ‘Skins a 21-7 lead, and scored on a 1-yard touchdown run in the third quarter to push the lead to 21 points.
Andrew Delaney scored on the ensuing kickoff from 70 yards out, and Staley caught his second touchdown pass, a 52-yarder from Hohler, but Port Clinton responded with a 33-yard field goal from Hanson in the fourth quarter that made it a two-possession game.
“That was a big field goal that put us up two scores,” said Carmon. “That kept the momentum from going Huron’s way. Andrew did a nice job for us.”
Cornell had one of his best games of the season, rushing 28 times for 158 yards and two touchdowns, and had 200 all-purpose yards and scored a total of three touchdowns.
“The usual suspect that stuck out was definitely Garrett. There was a question about how we were able to run the ball against a quality opponent. Garrett was all over the field, he was the one that really stuck it out,” said Carmon. “We were going to ride our seniors and their leadership. They stepped up and we saw the end result of that. I’m happy for Garrett because he got injured and missed (some games).”
The ‘Skins got great quarterback play out of Gillum, who completed 13-of-17 passes for 183 yards and a touchdown, Josh Hurst caught eight passes for 114 yards and Tyler Webb had six receptions for 56 yards.
This Friday, Port Clinton hosts Oak Harbor (5-4, 2-2), which defeated Willard, 34-0, last week.
“It’s been one-sided for a long time. We have something like four victories (against them) since 1987. It’s a great rivalry, they have a lot of pride and are great program. I have a lot of respect for Mike May and what he does,” said Carmon. “They’re tough kids. We’re not going to score our average (in points). They have a great defense, a really fast quarterback and some weapons on offense. It’s going to be tough. I’m glad we have a meaningful game in week 10.”