Recovering from a concussion he suffered in last week’s 42-20 loss at Clyde, Devin Jones had a large assignment Friday night: Lead Margaretta’s offense while shutting down the Port Clinton passing attack.
All he did was rush for 106 yards and a touchdown and hold the Redskins’ No. 1 receiver, Allen Tigner, to two catches until the final drive of the game.
Add to that three rushing touchdowns from Bryce Fredrick, and the Polar Bears cruised to a 33-14 victory.
The display Jones delivered on both sides of the ball is why Margaretta head coach Rock Farlow thinks Jones is one of the most complete players in the area.
“I just think it shows you what kind of a player Devin is,” Farlow said. “What gets lost in (his play) is how good he is defensively. He’s one of the best corners I’ve ever coached.”
Jones forced five incompletions on passes thrown Tigner’s way along with two drops.
Farlow also said he was happy with the Bears’ consistency. Margaretta led the entire game and held off any chance of a Port Clinton comeback.
The Polar Bears led 14-6 at halftime and Craig Galindo picked Derek Colston’s pass on the first play from scrimmage — a pass intended for Tigner, who was covered by Jones.
The Polar Bears took the ball at their own 49 and drove downfield on 11 plays in 3:37 to score on a 5-yard touchdown run by Corey Yontz. The Bears converted on the extra point and led 21-6.
“That’s one thing we haven’t done — is turn the ball over, until tonight,” Port Clinton head coach Toby Hammond said. “Maybe that was part of the weather, but give all the credit to Margaretta. They played a great game, especially on defense.
“They did a nice job of taking away Alan (Tigner) and Steven (Wingo).”
Port Clinton responded with a lengthy scoring drive of its own — 12 plays in 4:46 — capped on a 2-yard touchdown run from Richard Harris.
After trading possessions, the Bears got the ball back just before the third quarter ended and scored on the first play of the fourth quarter on a 66-yard touchdown run from Fredrick to make the score 27-14.
Farlow exploited the middle of the defense with Fredrick all night because the Redskins had to respect Jones’ speed around the corners.
“The wing-T is a little different in a lot of offenses because we need that little, shifty fullback in there,” Farlow said of the 5-foot-9, 175 pound Fredrick, who finished the game with 118 yards rushing on 14 carries and three touchdowns. “He’s just tough as nails and he can make those nice little cuts in there.
“They were obviously working hard to stop Devin and stop our sweeps. So having that threat there — inside tackle — it makes it very difficult to defend.”
A Port Clinton three-and-out gave Margaretta the ball back with great field position thanks to a 44-yard punt return by Jones. Three plays later he took it in himself, beating the Port Clinton defense to the pylon.
“Margaretta’s a very good football team,” Hammond said. “We knew going in that we were going to have our hands full. They were more physical on the line of scrimmage than we were.”
The game started with a 10-play scoring drive lasting 3:35 that ended with Fredrick’s first touchdown. Jones faked a pitch left, spun around and handed off to Fredrick who took it in from nine yards out.
Port Clinton eventually came within one, 7-6, with 5:33 to play in the second quarter on a 14-yard touchdown pass from Colston to Wingo, who cut right across the field and was left open in the middle of the endzone.
Margaretta scored 52 seconds before halftime on second-and-goal. Fredrick pushed his way through the middle and across the goal line for a 14-6 lead.
“We’ve just got to find a way to build off this and play four more quarters against a really good Edison team,” Farlow said when asked how he felt about his team’s performance to date. “That’s our next test — obviously a very good football team.”