Fliers dismantle Bucks

CLYDE – It was clear his team was up against it.

So Medina Buckeye coach Mark Pinzone pretty much threw caution to the wind Friday for his team’s Division III regional quarterfinal playoff game against Clyde at Robert Bishop Stadium.

Be ambitious. Be bold. Go for broke.

Ambitious meant choosing to receive the opening kick rather than to defer as teams typically do. In a matter of four plays, the Bucks lost a fumble and watched the Fliers put up a score.

Bold meant opting not to punt on fourth-and-2 from the Medina 44. Running back Cody Fortney was stuffed and in a matter of six plays, the Fliers were on the board again.

By quarter’s end, already trailing 28-0, the Bucks were, well, broken.

Clyde scored on each of its first 10 possessions and then went into coast mode in posting a 62-14 win.

Opportunity knocks in a big way this week for the Fliers, who improved to 10-1 heading into a rematch with unbeaten Sandusky Perkins at a site to be determined Friday. Perkins, the only team to beat Clyde while gaining the Sandusky Bay Conference championship, advanced by whipping Napoleon Friday.

If the Fliers were looking ahead, they did so with more than enough talent to get the job done.

Buckeye, which finished 6-5, came into the game having won six of its final seven games. But the Bucks were winless in their three regular-season meetings with Division III foes and had been outscored 91-20 in those contests.

It didn’t take long for the fourth such loss to become clear.

Clayton Farrar recovered a fumble to set up Tim Hoppe’s 26-yard touchdown pass to Derek Gray to start the romp.

Both Hoppe and Gray came up big. Hoppe completed 11-of-14 passes for 228 and four touchdowns – all in the first half. He also scored a touchdown on a 15-yard run.

Gray, meanwhile, caught four passes for 123 yards and two scores. His second touchdown was a dance-and-juke special that officially covered 67 yards but looked more like 100.

“I was really happy with the way we played that first half,” Clyde coach Ryan Carter said. “The focus was there. It was a home playoff game and with that home atmosphere, we really wanted to set the tone early.

“They gave us some passing looks and I thought Timmy and our wideouts really did a nice job,” he said.

Hoppe’s other touchdowns throws went to tight end Eric Wiseman for 43 yards and backup running back Darius Morton for 6 yards.

Wiseman and Blake Miller also had fumble recoveries to set up scores.

“The turnovers were pretty tough,” Pinzone said. “When you have four or five turnovers – I lost count after a while – when those happen, your backs are against the corner. We talked about that all week, avoiding turnovers, but that’s exactly what happened to us.”

The Fliers led 52-0 at the half with Damian Coburn putting up touchdowns on runs of 22 and 10 yards.

Austin Baker not only was perfect on eight PATs, he also hit field goals of 32 and 34 yards.

Coburn, who finished with 167 yards on just 12 carries, finished his big night with 73-yard TD run on the first play of the second half.

Carter turned it over the JVs from there and the Bucks managed a couple second-half scores by Fortney on runs of 6 and 2. But the Buck senior, who totaled more than 1,300 yards during the regular season, was limited 36 yards on 14 tries.

It was fright night for the Fliers when they dropped a 34-14 decision Perkins Oct. 4. Clyde led 14-6 at the half, but watched three turnovers become Pirate scores in the second half. The game also had a one-hour delay due to lightning.

“They played us really well the first time and really, they were able to dictate on both sides of the ball,” Carter said. “They’re a great team. You don’t go 11-0 without being really good and well-coached.

“But we’re excited about the opportunity,” he said. “We’re going to come in today and start getting ready.”