Huron really needed a win for a number of reasons.
The Tigers understood the urgency and responded, piling up 345 yards total offense and pulling away for a 20-0 victory over Port Clinton in the regular season finale Friday night at True-Lay Stadium.
"Last week, we went into a ballgame that we needed for the SBC and the playoffs and we came up short," Huron coach Tony Legando said. "That (36-32 loss to Margaretta) was a heartbreaker. You have no idea how hard it was just trying to keep the kids believing in themselves.
"But this is an incredible group of guys. I know coaches say that all the time, but this team is as close as any I've had and you want them to experience success because you preach this is the way to accomplish it."
The Tigers (7-3, 5-2) have to wait until Sunday afternoon for the final Division IV, Region 14 computer rankings to be released for official word, but the win over the Redskins, coupled with a Norwalk victory and an Ontario loss has them in a very good spot to be playing next Friday night in the opening round of the playoffs.
"There are so many things that can happen for us to get in, but I think there are a lot more chances for us getting in that not," Legando said. "We'll sit back and enjoy this victory, and hopefully this is not these seniors' last ballgame."
It was the final game for the 12 seniors for Port Clinton, which ended the year at 5-5.
"We had a great season when not too many people gave us much of a chance," said Redskins coach Toby Hammond. "I can't say enough about our seniors. They are going to be hard to replace, but we also played a lot of young kids this year, so hopefully, down the roach, that will pay off for us."
Huron never trailed after opening the game with a 16-play, 77-yard drive capped by a 3-yard Brian Bollenbacher touchdown pass to Sean Fantozz on a fourth-and-goal. Bollenbacher was 6 of 7 for 45 yards on the drive and finished the game by completing 16 of 20 passes for 180 and two scores.
"I think he made one poor decision the whole game," Legando said of his senior quarterback. "And we threw screens, we threw outs and we optioned well. He pretty much pulled the trigger on all of it and did it well. I think the thing he did the best was use all the tools around him.
Bollenbacher went 4-for-4 for 51 yards and a 6-yard scoring toss to Brandon Krueger on the next Huron possession and finished off a 6-play, 56-yard third-quarter scoring drive with a 7-yard touchdown run that ended the scoring in the game.
Krueger led all receivers in the game with six catches for 74 yards while Fantozz pulled down four balls for 42 yards and Jake Hillman had four catches for 30.
Justin Hicks rushed for a game-high 77 yards and had two catches for 35 yards, while Bollenbacher rushed for 28 yards, Troy DeLamatre had five carries for 22 and Hillman added 32 yards on two carries.
"Digging out of the hole that was last week, we wanted to make sure we were doing things right and not trying to take things away from ourselves," Legando said. "Sometimes you can be so flashy, you end up beating yourselves. We just felt we had to play from within ourselves and it turned out the way we had hoped."
Derek Colston led the Port Clinton, completing 14 of 32 passes for 134 yards and three interceptions. Hillman picked off one throw in the end zone, while Aaron Drifmyer nearly had two with his one coming at the Huron 7.
"We're just not big enough and strong enough inside the 10 and 20 to be able to pound the ball on people," Hammond said. "We need the big field for us to score and it's really been our problem this whole year. If we don't hit a home run, we don't score.
"But that's all part of not being big enough and strong enough, especially in the league."
Stephen Pastor gained 41 yards on the ground for the Redskins while Josh Graves had six catches for 42 yards and Steve Wingo finished five catches for 74, along with an interception.
"That quarterback (Colston) is about as accurate a quarterback as I've seen and he has some real sweet receivers," Legando said. "It did not surprise me that they picked up the yardage they did. That doesn't mean we liked it, but they have a nice football team.
"Toby Hammond has them playing football, He's worked long and hard and it's pretty impressive with what he's done."
Huron 7 7 6 0 -- 20
Port Clinton 0 0 0 0 -- 0
H -- Sean Fantozz 3 pass from Brian Bollenbacher (John Dusza kick)
H -- Brandon Krueger 6 pass from Bollenbacher (Dusza kick)
H -- Bollenbacher 7 run (pass fail)
First Downs 21 10
Rush-Yards 44-164 19-51
Yards Pass 180 134
Comp-Att-TD-INT 16-20-2-1 14-32-0-3
Pen-Yards 2-15 3-15
Fum-Lost 0-0 1-0
Rushing -- (H) Justin Hicks 24-77, Brian Bollenbacher 9-28, Troy DeLamatre 5-22, Jake Hillman 2-32, Matt King 1-4, Mauricio Vasquez 1-2; (PC) Stephen Pastor 11-41, Andrew Leidheiser 1-(minus) 2; Diante Laurel 4-17, Derek Colston 2-4, Addison Rospert 1-(minus) 9
Passing -- (H) Brian Bollenbacher 16-20-180-2-1; (PC) Derek Colston 14-32-134-0-3
Receiving -- (H) Brandon Krueger 6-74, Jake Hillman 4-30, Justin Hicks 2-36, Sean Fantozz 4-42; (PC) Andrwe Leidheiser 1-12, Josh Graves 6-42, Steve Wingo 5-74, Eric Reynolds 1-3