BY YANEEK SMITH, BEACON CONTRIBUTOR
TIFFIN — Port Clinton found out just how good Tiffin Columbian was on Friday, falling behind early before losing, 31-7 to the Tornadoes at Frost-Kalnow Stadium. Columbian (1-0) scored two touchdowns within 13 seconds of one another midway thru the first quarter and never looked back.
The Tornadoes, who have made the playoffs in each of the last two seasons, drove 86 yards on 11 plays on their opening possession, with L.J. Reaves catching a 10-yard touchdown pass from Brayden Roggow to make it 7-0 with 4:41 remaining in the first quarter.
On the ensuing kickoff, Kesean Jackson picked up a fumble and returned it 35 yards for a touchdown.
Jackson later scored on a 35-yard run with 9:22 to play in the first half to push the lead to 21-0.
“They’re extremely talented and I didn’t see a weakness in their game. Their quarterback looked like he has started for a couple years. They look like a team that’s going to make a good season of it and do well in the playoffs,” said Port Clinton coach Beau Carmon, who is a Columbian alum. “Everyone knows the Lake Division is a meat grinder. It’s a tough draw for a first game, that’s the way it is. We were sloppy and while there were some nice moments where we moved the ball, but it certainly wasn’t enough.
“You’re playing against a tradition and a program that has done more things than we have at Port Clinton. It’s a mentality thing, and that’s something we’re building at Port Clinton, and a lot of that has to do with confidence. We had too many mistakes and didn’t play well enough. Columbian scored 14 points in a matter of 15 seconds. You’re not going to beat Columbian doing that.”
Port Clinton (0-1) quarterback Cam Gillum hooked up with Josh Hurst for an 11-yard touchdown midway through the third quarter to cut the deficit to 21-7 and grab momentum before the Tornadoes responded. Seth Bellville returned the kickoff to the Port Clinton 36-yard-line to set Columbian up with great field position, and on fourth-and-6 from the 32, Logan Beaston rolled to his right and found Maddox Simcoe in the end zone to push the margin to back to 21 points.
Coppus kicked a 34-yard field goal midway through the fourth period to close out the scoring.
Carmon was able to find some positives amongst the loss.
“I think Hunter Shell played a heck of a game. We were solid up front against Columbian, but we got beat because they’re faster and deeper than us,” said Carmon. “We gave up a couple of big plays on defense, but I thought our defense played pretty solid for the most part, holding their offense to 24 points.
“We start nine kids on both sides of the ball. Our kids were tired, they were gassed,” he said. “We need more kids on that sideline to step up and gain the trust of the coaching staff and the other players. We never quit. You’re playing against a team that has over 90 kids on their roster, and we have 48. We can’t use that as an excuse. We’re happy to coach these kids.
“We expect to make tremendous strides from this game. They learned a lot from this film. Hopefully we see some improvement. I don’t regret not scrimmaging, we cannot risk injury on this football team. We had to shake some rust off. We had too many mental mistakes in that game, so that was the result.
Roggow completed 9-of-15 passes for 80 yards and Beaston hit 3-of-8 for 76 yards.
“Roggow was in the majority of the time. Both are really good quarterbacks and throw the ball extremely well,” said Carmon. “They’ve got a tremendous supporting cast around them. You take that on top of quality coaching and a tradition that would rival anyone’s in the area.”
On Friday, the Redskins travel to Milan to face Edison, which defeated Sandusky, 28-13, in its opener.
“They don’t make many mistakes, they play extremely hard, they’re very physical, and they don’t turn the ball over. When they get into the red zone, they score,” said Carmon. “It’s Edison, they’re always in the mix to win the league. They’re tough to stop and they play good defense. Jim Hall has been there for 20 years, so they’ve got a good thing going. It’s certainly a tough matchup.”