Any football coach will say mistakes can destroy a team.
And any kind of mistake almost always comes back to haunt a team. That was the case Friday Night for the Margaretta Polar Bears.
Two critical Polar Bears miscues, one a muffed punt that Port Clinton recovered, and the other a high snap on a punt that allowed the Redskins to take over in the red zone, helped set-up two Port Clinton touchdowns, which was the difference in the Redskins 50-34 victory at True-Lay Stadium in Port Clinton.
Margaretta opened the scoring, taking the lead on a Corey Yontz 5-yard touchdown run. The extra point was blocked, leaving Margaretta with a 6-0 lead.
Port Clinton responded, scoring on a 50-yard pass from Derek Colston to Josh Graves across the middle of the field on third-and-11 from the 50-yard line. Addison Rospert's extra point gave the Redskins a 7-6 lead.
A Devin Jones 35-yard touchdown pass to Andrew Freeh gave the Polar Bears the lead again, but the Redskins took the lead for good, scoring on a 4-yard run by Stephen Pastor and made it 15-12 when Colston threw a pass to Eric Reynolds on the two-point conversion.
The touchdown was set up on the previous play when Margaretta's high snap on a punt caused the ball to roll from its 44-yard line all the way to the 4, setting Port Clinton up with a first-and-goal.
One of the keys for the game was Port Clinton controlling the line of scrimmage, opening holes for Stephen Pastor and Diante Laurel. Pastor had 28 carries for 112 yards and three touchdowns, and the team rushed 27 times for 129 yards.
"We have a lot of young guys playing. We have a couple sophomores (on the offensive line)," Port Clinton head coach Toby Hammond said. "They've just gotten better -- they're not sophomores anymore. After six, seven weeks, they're coming along."
Besides the play of the offensive line, Port Clinton's big plays made a huge difference in the game. The Redskins scored four touchdowns on plays of 50 yards or longer.
"They just whipped our butts," said Margaretta head coach Rock Farlow. "That was a whitewashing. Both offensively and on special teams, they got some big plays."
After Margaretta closed to make it 22-20 on a Yontz 80-yard touchdown run, the Polar Bears were set to get the ball back, but Craig Galindo muffed a punt and Port Clinton's Jimmy Digby recovered, setting Port Clinton up at the Margaretta 23-yard line. After a defensive pass interference call on third down kept the drive alive for Port Clinton, Stephen Pastor scored from 16 yards out, and Rospert's PAT made it 29-20. Margaretta would get no closer the rest of the evening.
Despite constantly giving up a big play or making a critical mistake, the Polar Bears fought hard all night.
"Give Margaretta a lot of credit," said Hammond. "You go up two or three scores and they come right back. They could've easily quit and folded the tent. They came back and played hard and scored a few on us."
Yontz ran for 171 yards, Jones had 132, and Chris VanScoy gained 84 yards for the Polar Bears.
Margaretta 12 8 0 14 -- 34
PC 7 22 14 7 -- 50
M -- Corey Yontz 5 run (kick failed)
PC -- Derek Colston 50 pass to Josh Graves (Addison Rospert kick)
M -- Devin Jones 35 pass to Andrew Freeh (pass failed)
PC -- Stephen Pastor 4 run (Colston pass to Eric Reynolds)
PC -- Graves 88 punt return (Rospert kick)
M -- Yontz 80 run (Yontz run)
PC -- Pastor 16 run (Rospert kick)
PC -- Pastor 70 run (Rospert kick)
PC -- Colston 76 pass to Rospert (Rospert kick)
M -- Jones 1 run (Jones run)
PC -- Colston 21 pass to Graves (Rospert kick)
M -- Jones 21 run (pass failed)
First Downs 18 6
Rushes-Yards 45-383 28-112
Passing Yards 90 173
Comp.-Att.-Int 7-11-0 5-11-0
Penalties-Yards 3-39 3-25
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 0-0
RUSHING -- (M) Corey Yontz 17-171; Devin Jones 17-132; Chris VanScoy 10-84; Corey Kane 1-(-4); (PC) Stephen Pastor 13-109; Diante Laurel 10-10; Derek Colston 4-1
PASSING -- (M) Jones 7-11-1-0-90; (PC) Colston 5-11-3-0-173
REVCEIVING -- (M) Craig Galindo 5-36; Andrew Freeh 1-35; Austin Moore 2-25; (PC) Addison Rospert 2-94; Josh Graves 3-79