Perkins Pirates' defense grounds Clyde Fliers

MORNING JOURNAL/JIM BOBEL Clyde’s Brad Smith, right, carries three Perkins defenders for a short gain in the third quarter Friday night.

MORNING JOURNAL/JIM BOBEL Clyde’s Blake Miller, left, tries to run the corner on Perkins' Kyle Lewis in the third quarter Friday night.

MORNING JOURNAL/JIM BOBEL Perkins’ Brandon Smith, left, fires a pass to Mitch Benkey in the fourth quarter against Clyde on Friday night.

MORNING JOURNAL/JIM BOBEL Perkins’ John Workman, left, follows his blocker in the fourth quarter Friday night against Clyde at Perkins High School.

PERKINS TWP. — Clyde entered Friday night’s game with Perkins averaging 61.5 points per game over its last two games.

Against the Pirates’ defense, well, let’s just say that average went way down.

The Fliers mustered 261 yards of offense and turned the ball over three times in the second half as Perkins cruised to a 35-13 win at a cold and rainy Firelands Regional Medical Center Stadium.

The win was the sixth in a row for the Pirates (6-1, 4-0 Sandusky Bay Conference), who have outscored their opponents 278-73 on the season.

“We knew we had to go out there and play physical defense,” Perkins coach Jason Ziegler said. “We had a great game plan going in and the kids bought in. They’ve gotten better each week and I think we have a lot of speed out there. I’m just excited with the effort our kids have given.”

That effort was put on display from the get-go.

After a three-and-out from Clyde on the game’s opening drive, Perkins went 73 yards on seven plays to take an early 7-0 lead.

The Pirates converted a 3rd-and-7 and finished the drive on a 4th-and-7 when Brandon Smith found Dale Irby for a 37-yard touchdown pass.

Smith was 6 of 12 throwing the ball for 134 yards and two TDs.

Perkins took a 7-0 lead into the second until Austin Sparks broke free for a 65-yard run on the Pirates’ first play of the quarter to make it 14-0 with 11:06 left in the half.

After punting twice and turning the ball over on downs on their first three drives, the Fliers’ offense finally got going when Paul Cullen found Brad Smith for a 57-yard throw-and-catch to cut the deficit to 14-7.

Just under four minutes later, Smith this time ran in from five yards out for a TD. Alex Medley missed the extra point as Clyde trailed 14-13.

On the ensuing drive, Perkins put together a 10-play, 66-yard drive, capped off with a 12-yard TD pass from Smith to Irby in the corner of the end zone to pull ahead 21-13 just before the end of the first half.

“That was huge,” Ziegler said. “Our kids make some big plays in some big situations and I’m awfully proud of them.”

The score right before halftime shifted all the momentum to the Pirates, who made sure to take advantage.

Perkins scored on its first drive of the second half when Mitchell Benkey ran in for a 6-yard score to make it 28-13.

The Fliers (3-4, 2-2) weren’t as fortunate on their first drive of the half, as Cullen threw an interception to David Doster on the Perkins 2-yard line.

On Clyde’s next drive, Collin Rieman fumbled a reverse, and the Pirates made him pay.

On the very next play, Benkey cut through the middle of the Flier defense for a 67-yard score to blow the game open, 35-13, with 3:41 left in the third.

“I just saw the whole and I broke free,” Benkey said. “I just ran and I didn’t know if someone was going to catch me or not. I think after that the game was ours.”

Benkey was right.

Clyde’s first three drives of the second half resulted in turnovers, two being interceptions. Cullen finished with 165 yards and one touchdown on 10 of 17 passing.

Perkins again relied heavily on the run, rushing for 318 yards and three scores.

Sparks led the way with 140 yards and a touchdown on nine carries, while Benkey rushed for 101 yards and two TDs on 13 carries.

“We wanted to run it down their throats,” Benkey said. “We did throw in some passing, too. We didn’t do that a lot last week but it was part of the game plan this week and it worked, so I’m happy for that.”

The Pirates will go for their seventh straight win next week when it travels to Port Clinton.

Perkins 35, Clyde 13

Sandusky Bay Conference

Clyde (3-4, 2-2) 0 13 0 0 — 13

Perkins (6-1, 4-0) 7 14 14 0 — 35

Scoring

P — Dale Irby 37 pass from Brandon Smith (Matt Cremean kick)

P — Austin Sparks 65 run (Cremean kick)

C — Brad Smith 57 pass from Paul Cullen (Alex Medley kick)

C — Smith 5 run (kick failed)

P — Irby 12 pass from Smith (Cremean kick)

P — Mitchell Benkey 6 run (Cremean kick)

P — Benkey 67 run (Cremean kick)

Statistics

First Downs — C 16, P 18

Yards Rushing — C 96 (Smith 72), P 318 (Sparks 140)

Yards Passing — C 165 (Smith 68), P 134 (Irby 68)

Passes Att.-Comp.-Int — C 17-10-2, P 12-6-0

Fumbles-Lost — C 4-1, P 1-1

Penalties-Yards — C 2-9, P 5-38.

@PaulBarney18

Last Updated: 10/6/2012 12:03:09 PM EST

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