Norwalk football coach Todd Fox was disappointed to see how easily Port Clinton had marched down the field on its first possession Friday night at Whitney Field.
The game was suspended because of lightning with 4:02 left in the first quarter and the game tied at 7-7.
He wasn’t the only one, however.
“I think the kids took it more personal on their own after they gave up that touchdown,” Fox said.
But when action resumed on Saturday, it was Norwalk scoring at a lightning quick pace in a 42-7 win over the Redskins to improve to 2-1.
The Truckers scored two touchdowns in exactly 60 seconds in the first quarter, and three touchdowns in a 2:33 span over the first and second quarters.
“We challenged them (Friday) night after we left, and that’s a long 24 hours to be upset about how we started the night before,” Fox said. “We came out and played our style. They answered the bell.”
When action resumed, Port Clinton (0-3) had the ball first-and-10 from its own 31. After three plays resulted in just three yards, the Redskins were forced to punt.
That is where the quick-strike Norwalk scoring first happened. Ethan Phillips fielded the Port Clinton punt at the Norwalk 30-yard line, cut back to his right off some good blocking and turned it into a 70-yard touchdown return.
The second of six Garrison Smith extra point kicks put Norwalk up 14-7 at the 2:13 mark of the opening quarter.
“In the first three games, that’s two special teams touchdowns and now one on defense,” Fox said. “That really helps out our offense. Ethan is special. It was great to get him back last week after having a long healing process from an injury. He’s a different dynamic in all three phases. We’ve got a lot of those playmakers, and tonight was his night to be in that position.”
Two plays after the punt return, Trucker linebacker Josh Neuberger intercepted Port Clinton quarterback Colton Klima at the Redskins’ 22.
Alec Maloney rumbled 18 yards on the ensuing play, then covered the remaining four yards for a TD run with 1:13 left in the quarter to give Norwalk two TDs in 60 seconds — and a 21-7 lead.
The onslaught continued after Port Clinton’s third possession to begin Saturday was a three-and-out that gained just two yards. Forced to punt from their own end zone, the Redskins lost the field position battle.
Norwalk took over at the Port Clinton 44, and on the very next snap, Evan Stumpf ran 44 yards for a touchdown and a 28-7 lead with 11:40 left in the first half.
Stumpf’s previous carry had come Friday night — a 66-yard TD run at the 5:09 mark of the first quarter.
Neither team scored the rest of the first half, though the Redskins twice got deep in Norwalk territory — but each drive ended in an interception by Ryan Sowders and a missed field goal on the final play of the half.
On Norwalk’s first drive of the second half, multiple penalties pushed the Truckers back into a third-and-40 from their own 41.
But Stumpf ran for 39 yards to the Port Clinton 20, and on fourth-and-1, followed his blocking and broke two tackles for a 20-yard TD run with 7:17 left in the third for a 35-7 lead.
After a three-and-out by the defense again, the Truckers closed out the scoring when quarterback Garrett Chapin found Sowders for a 39-yard TD pass on their second play of the ensuing drive.
After Port Clinton had a 9-play, 80-yard scoring drive to start the game on Friday, the Truckers held them to 25 total yards on six of their 11 possessions when the game resumed on Saturday.
“Our guys played with a little more attitude on defense,” Fox said. “On Friday — that’s not how we play defense.”
Stumpf carried the ball 13 times for 202 yards and 3 TDs to pace Norwalk. Unofficially, he’s ran for 528 yards and 7 TDs on just 64 attempts (8.3 average) in three games.
Chapin was 4-of-8 passing for 100 yards with a TD, with Sowders catching two passes for 67 yards. Maloney added 34 yards on five rush attempts.
Port Clinton coach Beau Carmon said his team didn’t come back on Saturday ready to play, and it showed against a team that is capable of capitalizing on mistakes.
“We’re playing a team picked to win the Lake Division, and we felt pretty good after the first eight minutes,” Carmon said. “But it’s eight minutes. A team like that is built to go the distance. They are big, strong, physical and are well-coached.
“They were just the better team — not just tonight, but period. They are better than us. We’re not there yet, and Norwalk has a really good thing going with some nice players right now.”
Norwalk is back in action on Friday at Edison (2-1).
P. Clinton 7 0 0 0 — 7
Norwalk. 21 7 14 0 — 42
PC — Cooper Stine 16 run (Hunter Mominee kick)
N — Evan Stumpf 66 run (Garrison Smith kick)
N — Ethan Phillips 70 punt return (Smith kick)
N — Alec Maloney 4 run (Smith kick)
N — Stumpf 44 run (Smith kick)
N — Stumpf 20 run (Smith kick)
N — Ryan Sowders 39 pass from Garrett Chapin (Smith kick)