Behind a stellar performance from running back Brandon Green, St. Mary Central Catholic outlasted Port Clinton, 34-26, to notch its second victory of the season.
Green finished with 34 carries for 240 yards and two touchdowns and averaged 38.7 yards on three kickoff returns to set the Panthers up with good field position on several of their possessions.
Green was instrumental in helping St. Mary CC to take the lead for good, taking a kickoff to the Redskins' 39-yard-line and later scoring on an eight-yard run to put the Panthers ahead 20-13 in the second quarter.
SMCC, which won for the first time in four games, improves to 2-5 overall and 1-3 in the Sandusky Bay Conference. With the loss, the 'Skins fall to 1-6 and 0-4 in the league.
Early on, things seemed to be going pretty well for Port Clinton as quarterback Addison Rospert and the offense was able to move the ball down the field. The 'Skins took 7-0 and 13-12 leads in the first half before the Panthers rallied and took control of the game in the third quarter.
Rospert finished with 30 carries for 130 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 124 yards on Port Clinton's first two scoring drives. He also connected with Trey Gluth for a 42-yard score. Wide receiver Chris Stokes, who took a number of snaps under center, had two rushing touchdowns and made some timely catches that led to the Skins' third touchdown.
The difference in the game came down to several key plays. Holding a 7-6 lead, Port Clinton fumbled the ball to set up a Panther touchdown when quarterback Alex Guerra connected with his brother Adam on a 39-yard score to take a 12-7 lead. SMCC's first touchdown came on a 60-yard connection between the two. Adam Guerra scored the Panthers' final touchdown, scoring from 28 yards out to push the lead to 34-20. Adam Guerra finished with five carries for 66 yards and two scores (one receiving).
On the bright side, the 'Skins now have three home games to finish the season. Unfortunately, those three games are against three of the best teams in the SBC, Perkins (6-1), Huron (4-3) and Clyde (3-4).
This week, the Pirates, whose lone loss came to Bellevue (27-16), travel to Port Clinton in the hopes of improving to 5-0 in the SBC. Since their Week 1 loss to the Redmen, Perkins has dominated, outscoring their opponents by a combined 251-57. In their 35-13 win over Clyde last week, the Pirates raced out to a 14-0 lead before holding off the Flyers. Running backs Mitch Benkey and John Workman rushed for 101 and 74 yards, respectively. For the duration of the season, those two have helped to solidify Perkins's rushing attack while the defense has held opposing offenses in check.
After going 5-15 the last two seasons, the Pirates have seen a major turnaround this year. There are two primary reasons for that: (1) Unlike last season, Perkins has been healthy; and (2) former head coach Gary Quisno has returned as the offensive coordinator after taking two years off due to health problems and, as a result, the Pirate offense has undergone a change that has seen more structure within their offense.