If you like offense, the St. Mary Central Catholic-Port Clinton Sandusky Bay Conference battle was just what one might enjoy.
However, if you like defense, look the other way, as the points came often Friday at Tru-Lay Field in Port Clinton, and the end result was the Panthers finally snapped a conference road losing streak with a 44-37 win.
"This was the first road win for us in the SBC since 2007 and I'm really happy for our kids who have finally been rewarded for the work they put in," SMCC coach Ryan Wikel said. "I guess you can say we had one more (score) than they did, and I like the way we answered back every time they put points on the board."
SMCC (1-2, 2-4) had lost 18 straight conference road games with the last win a 35-20 nod over the same opponent in the finale of 2007.
"I couldn't be any prouder of this team. We have a close-knit group of kids who just go out and play their hearts out week after week," Wikel said. "And I think even though we lost by 40 points a week ago to Clyde, I really think that gave our kids a believe they can score on anybody."
"We made the big play offensively time after time, and our defense came up with a couple of big interceptions in the second half. Up until that time it seemed they would score every time they had the ball," Wikel said.
There were so many heroes on both sides in a game in which there was a combined 539 yards of offense in the first half alone.
For the Panthers, junior quarterback Trevor Fitzthum had an outstanding performance, featuring four touchdown passes and over 300 yards in the air. He was 23 of 33 for 306 yards and a pair of strikes each to Denarius Harris and Hayden Snow.
Harris continues to be the favorite target, and this time he hauled in 10 catches for 122 yards, and two scores. In addition, he added six points on PATs, two by kick and four more on two catches on the two-point conversions. Six different receivers hauled in passes thrown by Fitzthum.
Fitzthum also ran 15 times for 74 yards and broke loose for key third-down conversions along the way.
He had plenty of ground support from Lucas Will and Wyatt Dye. Will raced 25 yards for the final touchdown of the wild night and finished with 59 yards on 11 carries.
Meanwhile, Dye got his chance to carry the ball and took advantage with a sparkling effort in which he gained 121 yards on just seven rushes, and one thundering run late in the final quarter that all but sealed the Panthers' second win of the season, and first in the conference.
Port Clinton coach Beau Carmon felt his team moved forward in one area. "I thought our offense took a step forward tonight, but our defense has to make a play," he said. "We've had the lead in three of our games at the half but did not finish, and until we do that we can't win. We have to be able to stop a team from scoring."
The Redskins had a couple of individuals stand out.
Sophomore Nathan Stubblefield had a sensational game with three touchdowns catches and a 37-yard field goal that gave his team a 37-36 lead with 6:44 to play in the game.
However, the Panthers regained the lead for the last time at the 5:01 mark when Will took a pitchout, found an opening, then received a key block from Aaron Colavincenzo downfield and weaved his way until he found the end zone on a 25-yard score. The Panthers added the two points to complete the scoring.
Port Clinton took the opening kickoff and used a strong running game to cover 65 yards in 13 plays with the score come on fourth-and-2 at the SMCC 4-yard line when Keegan Lowe powered his way in at the 6:23 mark.
SMCC came right back to knot the score at 7-7 with an 80-yard drive in eight plays, capped by a 13-yard touchdown pass from Fitzthum to Snow with 4:11 on the clock.
The Redskins went back on top on the first play of the second quarter when Moore fired an 11-yard strike to Stubblefield.
The Panthers came back again to even the score at 14-14 with a 58-yard drive in just four plays, climaxed by a 30-yard pass play from Fitzthum to Snow.
Port Clinton went back ahead at 21-14 on a nifty double reverse play that caught the Panthers napping, and Stubblefield raced 58 yards to the end zone at the 9:12 mark. SMCC gambled on fourth-and-13 on the next possession, but got the ball back moments later and marched 78 yards in seven plays to regain the lead again, this time at 22-21.
Harris caught a 29-yard touchdown pass and the Panthers tried to tie the game on Harris PAT. However, the Panthers had problems with the snap and Will alertly picked up the ball and waited and waited until he found Caleb Severance in the end zone for the two-point try, and the 22-21 lead.
Port Clinton came back to take a 27-22 halftime lead with another long strike, this one for 60 yards on a pass from Moore to Stubblefield who used his speed to run away from the SMCC defenders with just 25.4 seconds left in the half.
Moore was 5-of-6 passing for 114 yards in the first half, but just 2-of-8 with two interceptions in the second half.
Severance caught a 24-yard touchdown toss early in the third quarter, but Moore rambled 46 yards to get that score back for the hosts.
Harris and Fitzthum teamed for a nine-yard strike later in the same period as the Panthers went ahead 36-34, but Stubblefield's field goal gave the Redskins the lead again, but Will's run gave the Panthers the lead for good.