By Yaneek Smith
Behind three touchdown runs from quarterback Addison Rospert, Port Clinton rallied from an early 7-0 deficit and defeated Woodmore, 35-14.
After Wildcats quarterback Jake Matwiejczyk hit Zach Brossia for a 42-yard touchdown with 5:48 remaining in the first quarter, the Redskins responded, scoring the next five touchdowns to take control of the contest.
Rospert scored on an 18-yard run with 3:45 left in the first quarter to tie the score at 7 and, later in the quarter, running back Cody Smith gave Port Clinton the lead for good when he raced 80 yards for a touchdown to make it 14-7. Rospert had two touchdown runs (32, 1) in the second quarter, pushing the lead to 28-7 at halftime and the Wildcats never seriously threatened after that.
“Addison just adds another dimension to our offense in that he can run the ball,” said Port Clinton head coach Toby Hammond. “We just wanted to make sure he could do his thing.”
The Redskins rushed for 250 yards on 40 carries and accounted for 284 yards of total offense. Smith led the way, running for 140 yards on five carries and a touchdown and Rospert finished with 10 carries for 48 yards and three touchdowns.
The Redskins intercepted Matwiejczyk six times, including two apiece by Rospert and Brock Moore. Trey Gluth returned an interception 85 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter to push the lead to 35-7.
But the real key to victory came in how Port Clinton's defense was able to hold Woodmore's rushing attack in check and force them into obvious passing situations. For the game, the Wildcats rushed for just 61 yards on 21 carries.
“I was really pleased with how well we played defensively,” Hammond said. “Our secondary played well, except for the one blown coverage. I think we ended up with six picks and we ran one back (for a touchdown).”
Offensively, the Redskins made some big plays but weren't able to consistently run the ball effectively. In fact, over half of their 250 rushing yards came on two long runs by Smith.
“To help our defense out, we were counting on us running the football and playing keep away, but I was disappointed that we didn't block well.”
This week, the Redskins travel to Delphos to face the St. John's Blue Jays, a Division IV powerhouse program. In fact, St. John's has won six state titles in the last 15 seasons.
It is the beginning of the toughest stretch of the season for Port Clinton as they play the first of four consecutive road games (Genoa, Edison, Oak Harbor). The game, which takes place on Saturday, features two teams who rely on a strong running game and solid, unrelenting defense. The Blue Jays feature a stout rushing attack led by Tyler Jettinghoff. In St. John's 18-13 loss to Lima Central Catholic last week, Jettinghoff ran 18 times for 73 yards and caught five passes for 84 yards.
“We spent a lot of time watching film on (St. John's) them with the kids,” Hammond said. “They're probably very similar to us; they try to run the ball a lot. And their quarterback (Mark Boggs) throws the ball well because you're so concerned with stopping with the run, so we've got to play well in the secondary.”