Clyde knew exactly who it needed to stop if the team had any chance of keeping its season alive.
The Fliers shut down Irby, and every other playmaker Perkins turned to, keeping the Pirates scoreless for 44 minutes of action.
Clyde beat Perkins 19-6 at First National Bank Field at the Bellevue Athletic Facility Friday night to avenge its only season loss — and advance to the Division III Region 8 championship game against undefeated and 2012 Div. II state champion Toledo Central Catholic.
The site of next Friday's game will be determined Sunday afternoon by the OHSAA.
“Our defense was phenomenal like they always are,” Clyde quarterback Tim Hoppe said. “They went out there and played Flyer football and it was a lot of fun out there tonight.”
Hoppe completed 7-of-17 passes for 129 yards and ran in Clyde's only touchdown in the win.
“A lot of that last game was on me and I thought about it a lot this week,” Hoppe said of losing to Perkins 34-14 in Week 6. “I was very focused this week. As a team we've progressed so much throughout the season and here we are now. It feels great.”
The Fliers (11-1) held Perkins (11-1) to a three-and-out on the Pirates first drive and took over at their own 38. After a 2-yard gain by Damien Coburn followed by an incomplete pass, Hoppe hit Eric Wiseman for a 49 yard throw that set the Fliers up with a first-and-10 at the Pirate 11.
The Fliers failed to gain any yardage on three straight attempts, but Austin Baker drilled a 28-yard field goal in to put the Fliers on board.
The Flier defense forced the Pirates to go three-and-out again and had a short field after a bad punt that set them up at their own 46.
The Fliers reached the red zone six plays later but were forced to take another field goal when faced with a fourth-and-five at the 11. Baker drilled another 28-yard kick and the Fliers went up 6-0 with 2:28 left in the quarter.
“I gotta give credit to our kicker, Austin kicking the heck out of the ball, that's huge,” Clyde coach Ryan Carter said. “To get up two scores in a game like this when your defense is playing well is big.”
The Fliers limited the Pirates to three plays, and then Jake Jenne came up big when he tackled Perkins punter Connor Mapus at the 20-yard line.
Clyde failed to get to the end zone for a third straight time, but didn't leave without putting points up. Baker's 32-yard FG was good, making it 9-0 to end the first quarter.
A scoreless second quarter sent the Fliers in to halftime with that 9-0 lead.
The Fliers got the ball to start the half and found the red zone again after taking a good three-plus minutes off the clock. But Hoppe was sacked in the backfield on third-and-goal from the 4, causing Baker to come out for the kick.
A 28-yard FG made it 12-0.
Both teams went three-and-out, but on Perkins' second drive of the second half, Drake Camarata intercepted David Doster and Clyde scored its first touchdown on the ensuing play when Hoppe ran in a 1-yard run. Baker's PAT made it 19-0 with 3:04 left in the third.
“It was huge because you never know with the playmakers that they got,” Carter said of finally scoring a TD. “It was huge. Big for us to punch through and get (that) touchdown. Our playmakers made a couple plays offensively to get us down there.”
Collin Rieman added an interception in the third quarter when Doster tried to hit Irby in the end zone after the Pirates had recovered a fumble at the Clyde 15.
Perkins finally managed to get on board in the fourth quarter when Matt Schweinfurth broke loose down the left sideline for a 65-yard score with 3:24 left to play, but it was too little too late.
“They played lights out,” Perkins coach Jason Ziegler said of Clyde. “They did a nice job. We didn't have an answer for them tonight. I knew going into this it was going to be a battle. Our kids gave it everything they had.
“I am so proud of our seniors for not quitting at the end,” he added. “Just continuing to fight. We've got a lot of guys playing with a lot of injuries and that's not an excuse, because we've been playing with them all year.”
The Fliers held Irby to just 53 yards on 15 carries and visibly-rattled quarterback David Doster — playing on an injured ACL — to just 2-of-18 passing for 25 yards with three interceptions.
“I wish (Clyde) the best,” Ziegler said. “It's a great-coached team. They played hard. They are going to represent the SBC fantastically. I am looking forward to them bringing a state title to the SBC.”
Damien Coburn led the Fliers ground game with 108 yards on 25 carried while Derek Gray tallied 67 yards on three catches.
“It feels pretty good I am not going to lie, it feels pretty good,” Carter said of avenging Clyde's only loss of the season to date. “It will sink in (today) and we will figure out what we've got to do, but we are going to enjoy this one tonight.”