Dale Irby left little doubt before the skies opened.
With a pending storm about to roll through the area, Irby touched the ball five times in the first 10 minutes of Friday's Sandusky Bay Conference opener at Edison, scoring four touchdowns.
The quick barrage gave Perkins a 34-0 lead at the end of the first quarter of an eventual 41-20 win to improve to 4-0 (1-0 SBC) overall. Edison fell to 2-2, 0-1.
Irby added a fifth touchdown in the second quarter. The senior scored on runs of 23, 15 and 21 yards, while also catching a 28-yard score and returning a punt 79 yards for another. In all, Irby touched the ball nine times for 233 yards and the five TDs.
“Dale did everything tonight, catching a touchdown, running for some and returning another,” Perkins coach Jason Ziegler said. “Dale's good and we've known that since Day 1, but you have to give credit to those blockers up front too. They did a great job opening holes, and he's just a special athlete. But the line did a great job coming off the ball, and I was real excited about that.”
The opening 23-yard score was on the Pirates first play from scrimmage, as Edison was stuck with bad field position after a bobbled kick return, and a poor punt. Matt Cremean's first of five PATs gave the Pirates a 7-0 lead just two minutes into the game.
Three plays later, David Doster intercepted a Chris Smith pass at the Edison 34. On a fourth-and-4 at the 28, Doster found Irby in the flat, who then made one move and outran three defenders to the end zone to put Perkins up 14-0. After another quick three-and-out by the Chargers, Irby returned the ensuing punt 34 yards to the Edison 22. It was the only time in the quarter Irby touched the ball and didn't reach the end zone. Two plays later, he scored from 15 yards out to make it 21-0, and after an Edison drive stalled at midfield, Irby fielded a punt at the Perkins 22, found a good wall of blockers to his right and was off to the races for the 78-yard return and a 28-0 lead.
The Pirate defense then forced another quick three-and-out, and John Workman ran 23 yards to the Edison 33. The next play, Doster went end zone and Kyle Lewis out-jumped two defenders to catch a touchdown pass. The PAT attempt failed, but the damage had been more than done with the Pirates up 34-0.
Irby then capped the scoring for Perkins, capping a 9-play, 67-yard scoring drive with a 21-yard scoring run with 5:43 left in the half, which gave the Pirates a 41-0 lead.
“I don't think we came out ready to play,” Edison coach Jim Hall said. “We didn't handle the ball on a few kickoffs, we had to use timeouts early to get ourselves aligned correctly … I think they came out and attacked us and got us on our heels, and we didn't respond very well. “Obviously if you give them good field position, they'll take advantage of it,” Hall added. “Good teams do. We have mental corrections to make, and preparation-wise we have to make sure we do a better job.”
Hall also said he didn't think his players took Irby on during some of his scoring runs.
“We just did not play the way we are capable of tonight, and we're all going to get back to work and get it fixed,” he said. “I thought we fought back in the second half, which is a positive, but it's not something you want to hang your hat on. I think we have to get physically tougher and respond better to adversity.”
Edison added three touchdowns in the second half, with most starters out for both teams.
Smith scored on a 10-yard run with 6:44 left in the third quarter, and Lucas Munroe added the PAT. Dan Stoll then scored on a 34-yard run with 9:33 left, but the snap on the PAT was mishandled to make it 41-13. Stoll capped a 10-play, 67-yard drive with a 1-yard TD with just 48 seconds left. Eli Zettler added the PAT to close the scoring.
“Edison is a solid football program. You watch Coach Hall, his staff and players, they never stopped,” Ziegler said. “That just shows his coaches and players putting in the work and getting after it. It was just our night tonight.”
Irby carried the ball five times for 78 yards with the three scores, while Workman added 54 yards on nine attempts. Doster was 4-of-4 passing for 86 yards and two TDs. For Edison, Stoll carried nine times for 73 yards with the two scores.
Edison travels to Oak Harbor (2-2, 0-1) next week, while the Pirates begin preparation for a showdown with rival Huron (3-1, 1-0).
“I told our players (today) we start for Huron,” Ziegler said. “They are a good program and it's going to be exciting. We're going to have to stop No. 11 (Cody Thompson), and we still need to get better.”