Pirates looking for more in key SBC game against Tigers

The Perkins football team believes it has yet to play its best.
Mark Hazelwood
Sep 26, 2013

Friday night would be a good time to do so.

Despite being ranked No. 12 in the latest Associated Press poll in Division III, and despite outscoring opponents 195-57 in four wins, head coach Jason Ziegler says his team is looking for more Friday when they host Huron (3-1) in an early Sandusky Bay Conference showdown.

“We’re happy where we are right now. We’ve been improving each week,” Ziegler said. “After each game we come in and look at the mistakes, and our players are focusing on getting better. I think it’s showing with the way they are playing.

“But we haven’t played our best game and as a staff we’re waiting for it,” Ziegler added. “There have been some plays where it’s been almost perfect, but we haven’t put that perfect game in yet. That’s what we’re waiting for. Some of the penalties we’ve had will cost us in a close game. We talk about limiting penalties and turnovers, and it’s something we need to get better at.”

While much of the attention in last week’s 41-20 win at Edison was on Dale Irby scoring four touchdowns on five touches in the first quarter, it’s also worth noting the senior was running through some gaping holes.

“Going into the season, I told about everyone it was one of our bigger questions if we’d be good there as the year before,” Ziegler said of the offensive line. “It was just the simple fact of losing an all-Ohio tackle, another all-conference tackle, and a tight end who was also all-Ohio on defense.

“I’m real happy with way the kids have stepped up and played on the line. We are being physical, and that’s what we preach, which is also a credit to our coaches and the way they are coaching players.”

In a 35-3 win a year ago at Huron, the Pirates (4-0) were able to keep the wraps on Tiger quarterback Cody Thompson, something it will need to do once again Friday.

“When you watch the film, you can tell when you see Division I player, and he stands out in a big way,” Ziegler said of Thompson. “He’s sharp, he’s fast and makes good decisions. Watching him this year, he runs the ball out of designed plays effectively and he throws ball well.

“When he has ball in his hands, you have to breakdown and make the tackle, slow him down and hope rest of defense is following him,” Ziegler added. “You have to contain him, but know he’ll get his fair share of yards. Our goal is to stop him enough to where we can come out on top at end, he has real good receivers too, which makes it dangerous. We have to do our best. It’s always tough playing against a Tony Legando-coached team.”

Another factor that bodes well for the Pirates Friday is a 8-0 record at the new Firelands Regional Medical Center Stadium since it opened last year. Furthermore, Perkins average margin of victory in those home games is 45-12 (362-98).

“Our kids enjoy playing here. I think it’s in big part because of our fan base and community,” Ziegler said. “That is the one thing that gives us a little advantage playing at our place. When you walk out and your fans are there cheering you on, the kids get a little more amped. That’s a credit to our fans, student section and community. They have great pride in this stadium, and we talk all the time about defending our house, which we hope to do again Friday.”