The key to success in football generally goes to the team with the most balance when to comes to running and passing.
And that was the scenario Friday at True-Lay Stadium in Port Clinton where Perkins celebrated its second big victory in as many weeks, this time a 27-24 nod over the Redskins.
The Pirates (3-6) used the mixture of a strong running game (289 yards) with the passing of sophomore quarterback Shannon Smith (8-for-13, 97 yards and one touchdown) to keep Port Clinton from its first winning season since 1990. The Redskins (5-4) still have a chance with a win over Huron in the season finale.
Perkins finished with 387 yards in total offense compared to 318 for the hosts who gained 257 on the arm of their senior quarterback, Derek Colston, who was 17-of-31 passing for 157 yards and three scores to Steve Wingo who had eight catches for 100 yards while teammate Josh Graves added seven receptions for another 136.
It was a battle of offenses throughout, but coach Toby Hammond's Redskins had problems running the ball (61 yards on 21 carries) and that factor resulted in the key play of the game.
Down 27-24 with 2:42 to play, the Redskins were faced with a fourth and one at the Perkins 14. They called time out before coming back to the field with the game in the balance.
Hammond decided to go for the play action pass play and Derek Colston was rushed and forced to hurry his pass which fell incomplete, and Perkins had the ball the rest of the way.
Pirates coach Jason Ziegler was ecstatic.
"We stayed with the game plan and I'm happy to see the kids stick with it," he said. "We talked about the fact we should not hang our hat on the one big win (over Clyde last week) and to try to win our last three games and tonight we had a lot of kids step up.
"Richie Hohler had a big game but had to come out and Mitch Benkey took over and did the job, and he's a sophomore. We had two gain over 100 yards tonight and that's always good."
Hohler ran for 157 yards on 25 carries and Benkey, bouyed by a 53-yard touchdown run, followed with 112 yards on13 rushes. Each scored a touchdown.
"Brandon Smith, our sophomore quarterback, had really come on," Ziegler said. "You can see him develop as each game goes by and he continues to make good decisions. For instance, his cadence call that made them jump offside was very big in the last minute. That helped us get that last first down and enabled us to run out the clock.
"Another big play was the fourth-down pass from Shannon to Caleb Balduff for a touchdown early in the last quarter. He was patient and waited until Caleb broke free behind the defender and put it right on the money.That was another big play, and we made quite a few of them against a good Port Clinton team."
Hammond talked about that fourth-down call. "We could not handle (Jemar Walk and Phil Parker) all night long and I thought the pass was the best play, but that wasn't the reason we lost," he said. "We had many opportunitites and once had first and goal at he four and had to settle for a field goal, but give Perkins credit for making the big plays. We've played as well as we could the past three weeks but tonight we did not play well.
"We just could not run the ball against them and had to rely on Derek's passing almost every play and you can't win doing that all night."
Port Clinton marched 51 yards in seven plays to score on the first drive of the night, capped by Colston's pass to Wingo covering 30 yards on a well-executed post pattern. Addison Rospert kicked the PAT for a 7-0 led at the 9:7 mark.
Perkins scored on an 80-yard drive in five plays following a PC punt. Benkey took a pitch and jetted down the sidelines to paydirt, but the try for the PAT was muffed and it was still 7-6.
Perkins moved ahead 12-7 as Hohler bulled his way in from the one seven plays afer Perkins recovered a Redskins fumble. The Pirates misfired on the two-point conversion.
Port Clinton took the kickoff and drove 62 yards in nine plays to retake the lead at 15-12 as Colston hooked up with Wingo again, this time from 10 yards out. Colston ran for the two-point conversion and a 15-12 lead with 18 seconds remaining in the half.
Rospert booted a 21-yard field goal for an 18-9 lead early in the third period, but Perkins bounced back as Josh Gerold ran the final four yards with 8:15 to go. J.J. Gasteier added the PAT.
Colston and Wingo did it again for Port Clinton, this time on a 38-yard pass play with 2:00 left in the third quarter, but that finished the scoring for the hosts.
Perkins scored with 10:36 left in the fourth quarter as Smith fired a 36-yard touchdown pass to Balduff on fourth down and that turned out to be the deciding play for the night.
Perkins 0 12 7 8 -- 27
Port Clinton 7 8 9 0 -- 24
Port Clinton -- Steve Wingo, 30 pas from Derek Colston (Addison Rospert, kick).
Perkins -- Mitchell Benkey, 53. run. (run failed).
Perkins -- Richard Hohler, 1 run. (pass failed).
Port Clinton -- Wingo, 1 pass from Colston. (Colston, run).
Port Clnton -- Rospert, 21 field goal.
Perkins -- Josh Gerold, 4 run. (JJ Gasteier, kick).
Port Clinton -- Wingo, 38 pass from Colston, (run failed).
Perkins -- Caleb Balduff, 36 pas from Brandon Smith. (Balduff, pass from Smith).
First downs 17 15
Rush-pass-pen 12-4-1 2-13-0
Rushes-yards 45-289 21-61
Pass yards 98 257
Att-com-int 13-8-0 31-17-0
Penalties-yds 2-11 2-19
Fumbles-los t 2-1 1-1
Rushing -- Hohler (P) 25y-157; Benkey (P) 13-112; Laser (P) 3-21; Pastor (PC) 14-40; Colston (PC) 4-12; Leidheiser (PC) 2-7.
Passing -- Smith (P) 8-13-98-0-1; Colston (PC) 16-31-257-0-3.
Receiving -- Ebert (P) 2-27; Balduff (P) 1-36; Gerold (P) 2-16; Laser (P) 1-16; Haeuptle (P) 1-5; Moore (P) 1-(-1); Graves (PC) 7-136; Wingo (PC) 8-100; Reynolds (PC) 1-11; Rospert (PC) 1-11.