The Clay Eagles wilted under sweltering heat, an explosive Perrysburg offense, and a swarming Yellow Jacket defense Friday night.
For the second straight week, Perrysburg had its game wrapped up in convincing fashion by halftime. The Yellow Jackets led just 7-3 after the first quarter. But Perrysburg tallied 31 unanswered points in the decisive second quarter and blasted Clay 51-10.
The Yellow Jackets accumulated 227 yards of offense in the first half to build an insurmountable 38-3 lead.
Junior quarterback Steve Slocum posted another solid performance in just two quarters. Slocum completed 12 of 18 passes for 148 yards and three touchdowns. He connected with Austin Bishop on scores of 15 and 27 yards and hooked up with Ian Wagner on a 12-yard score. Slocum also opened the scoring with a nine-yard TD rush.
“We’re just full of energy right now,” said Slocum, who rushed for 63 yards. “We came out hustling. It’s good to know you have it wrapped up early. That benefits us a lot.”
The Yellow Jacket defense forced three turnovers, limited Clay to zero yardage in the second quarter and just 41 in the first half.
“Defensively they are really playing hard,” Perrysburg coach Matt Kregel said. “They’re flying around and doing what we’re asking of them. We’ll have to count [senior lineman] Micah Carter’s tackles. He and the defensive linemen are really playing. As a unit defensively this is probably the most speed we’ve had.”
Senior defensive back Alex Morse set up Perrsyburg’s second score with an interception. Morse perfectly read a screen pass at Clay’s 24-yard line.
“Coach was telling us about watching their screen all week,” said Morse, who also had two sacks. “I just watched a lot of film this week and it paid off. Hard work basically translates to the game. We can’t do much better than this.”
On the first possession of the game, Perrysburg marched 80 yards in eight plays to go up 7-0. The drive that took just 2:55 was capped by Slocum’s a 9-yard scamper.
Clay, however, stayed with Perrysburg early thanks to an interception by Damon Dominique that he returned 50 yards. But the Yellow Jackets made a great goal-line stand on their 3-yard line. Clay settled for a 26-yard field goal from Brett Jordan that made it 7-3 at the end of the first quarter.
Five plays later, Slocum hit Bishop with a perfectly placed pass in the end zone for a 15-yard touchdown and a 14-3 lead. Bishop finished with four catches for 75 yards.
Perrysburg junior Austin Lee then returned a punt 62 yards for a 21-3 lead. Lee weaved his way through the Eagle defense and down the sidelines with 5:32 left in the half.
Slocum then found Bishop once again in the end zone for a 27-yard score. Slocum lofted the ball up and Clay defender Chris Durdel had perfect coverage. Durdel tipped the ball but Bishop showed good concentration to catch it for a 28-3 cushion late in the first half.
Slocum then stuck the dagger with a 12-yard slant pass to Wagner for a 35-3 advantage with 24 seconds left in the first half. Slocum said the team was prepared for the heat.
Perrysburg added a late 27-yard field goal from Matthew Kaczinski for the 35-point lead. The Jackets scored 31 points over the final 7:29.
Third-string Perrysburg quarterback Nick Fleming played a part in the last two scores. He tossed a 10-yard pass to Dan Johnston and scored on a 9-yard run.
Clay got its only touchdown from Devon Dominique’s 50-yard charge up the middle of the field in the third quarter.
Kregel said his thoughts never turned to next week’s big match up at Central Catholic.
“With the way the heat was it was just a matter of getting through this one,” He said. “It was a tough, tough game to get through.”
Contact Mark Monroe at: email@example.com or 419-724-6354. Follow him on Twitter @MonroeBlade