Perkins Pirates ready for second season

Perkins coach Jason Ziegler knew his team had a chance to be good in 2012 despite winning just three games the year before.

This year, the Pirates haven’t just been good, they’ve been really good, tripling their win total from three to nine and winning the Sandusky Bay Conference championship with little resistance.

Now the Pirates, winners of nine straight games, are in the playoffs for the first time since 2009 and will play at 9-1 Urbana on Saturday night in the Division III, Region 10 quarterfinals to continue what has been an outstanding season.

“Each week, our kids became more confident,” Ziegler said. “And with the confidence, they started playing better. As a coaching staff, we knew we had a special group of guys. We knew we could do this.”

Perkins opened the season with a loss at Bellevue, then won their final nine games by an average margin of 32.6 points per game, including a 39-14 blowout of Oak Harbor to clinch the SBC. Led by seniors Mitchell Benkey, David Doster and quarterback Brandon Smith — all of whom were stars on the Perkins basketball team that reached the regional final in March — the Pirates’ balanced offense put up 380 points this season.

“I knew going in, we had athletes,” Ziegler said. “We have the speed. Our goal going into the season was to spread the ball out evenly, not just give the ball to one guy.

“It’s huge because they’ve been to the playoffs, they understand. They made a great run last year, they’re going to make a great run this year. That’s a great group of guys. We’ve also got some wrestlers that went down to state. So we do have quality, quality kids. And they understand what it takes.”

Ziegler’s team will make the long drive down to Urbana to face the Hillclimbers, who won the Central Buckeye Conference and reached the playoffs a year ago.

Even though the schools are separated by 115 miles, Ziegler is not worried about the long road trip on Saturday.

“I’m fully convinced that a three-hour drive is not a big deal for these guys,” he said.

Like the Pirates, Urbana features a balanced offense led by quarterback Nathan Mays, who threw for 2,103 yards and 31 touchdowns. Senior running back Tanner Lawrence rushed for 1,497 yards and 18 touchdowns.

“We try to just attack what the defense gives us,” Urbana coach Geron Stokes said. “We don’t really have a game plan going week in and week out saying we’re going to throw this many times or we want to run it this many times. If the defense gives up something we can exploit, we try to take it.”

Urbana’s offense will go up against a Perkins defense that has allowed just 44 points in its last seven games, including back-to-back shutouts over Port Clinton and Margaretta. Leading the way for the Pirates’ defense is Chase Green who leads the team with five sacks. Aaron Mawhirter has a team-high 75 tackles, and John Workman and Tony Didion each have 69.


Last Updated: 11/2/2012 8:53:12 PM EST

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