It is a night that Clyde head coach Marc Gibson can recount quickly.
The night was Oct. 27, 2006, as the Fliers finished the regular season at Perkins in a matchup of a pair of 7-2 teams in which the winner was likely going to slip into one of the final playoff spots in Division III, Region 10.
Check Fandy.com for a running scoreboard of tonight's game at Perkins High School.
In pouring rain and terrible field conditions, the Fliers let an 8-0 halftime lead slip away into a 21-18 defeat to finish at 7-3 and 10th in the region, while Perkins did in fact get the eighth and final playoff spot with the win.
Fast forward to the present, and not only have the Fliers not lost a Sandusky Bay Conference game since, but they for the most part haven’t been challenged either.
But is the 2006 defeat still lingering in the minds of Gibson’s team this week?
“I did bring it up,” Gibson admitted. “But only because it was a time where we had the lead at halftime and didn’t come out real focused in the second half because we thought it was something we’d just take care of and we weren’t focused.
“We allowed a big score the very first drive of the half and their go-ahead score we allowed two fourth-down conversions so just the overconfident aspect on our part sticks out to me from that game.”
Since the loss, however, Clyde has won 12 consecutive conference games by outscoring teams 523-82, which is an impressive average margin of 44-7.
With the Fliers sitting at 7-1 overall and 5-0 in the SBC, the team can clinch at least a share of its second straight conference title and the third in fourth years while also possibly locking up a first-round playoff game in two weeks with a win over the Pirates (6-2, 4-1) Friday night. Clyde is currently fourth in the Region 10 standings.
“We are looking at Perkins this week as they’re the biggest game this week, and we’ve done that with all our opponents,” Gibson said. “We have to understand every game is big, but when we play a team like this who has been strong since the beginning of the season it means a little more attention will be on it and we’re coaching the kids to be up to the task and focus on taking care of the little things we need to do to be successful.”
Meanwhile, the Pirates are looking to bounce back from a devastating defeat last week at Huron. Perkins led 21-14 with 8:58 left and 21-20 with 3:50 left before the Tigers scored a touchdown with 40 seconds left to claim a 28-21 win.
The loss dropped Perkins from 10th to 13th in Region 10 and knocked it out of a first-place tie with Clyde.
A win Friday night, however, can put Perkins back in a first place tie in the conference with a week left and perhaps back in the mix for the final playoff spot in the region.
“It’s a big ballgame with a championship at stake and we’re pretty confident we’ll play well,” Perkins head coach Gary Quisno said. “We’ve done our best to put last week behind us because we know we don’t have time to feel sorry for ourselves while preparing for the best team in the conference to see if we have a chance to beat them with a good effort on our part.”
Quisno knows the Pirates chances will start and end with slowing Clyde quarterback Alex Gillett, who’s thrown for 1,184 yards and 10 touchdowns on 84 of 134 passing and has ran for 1,014 yards and 19 touchdowns on 126 attempts
“He’s capable of doing so much and if you try to just stop him he has other weapons and does a real nice job getting the ball to those weapons,” Quisno said. “I think one of the biggest keys will be field position because if we give Gillett a short field to work with, it will make the job that much more difficult. We need to keep their offense on the sideline and we’ll see if we can do that.”
Meanwhile, Gibson sees a Perkins team that is believing in itself.
“Playing for Coach Quisno, who undoubtedly will be in the coaching Hall of Fame some day, he has turned them around quickly and has them believing and playing hard for him.
“They hit hard, run quickly to make a big play downfield, and it’s just a disciplined team that doesn't make a whole lot of mistakes. They believe in their schemes, and it has worked for them pretty well so far this year.”