BY ANDY ROWER | MIRROR SPORTS — The Ding Dong Bell was back in Perrysburg last Friday after the Yellow Jackets closed out the 2018 football season with a 49-14 win over visiting Maumee.
Perrysburg racked up 446 yards of offense on the night as the Yellow Jackets rushed for 267 yards and passed for 179 more.
Both phases of Perrys-burg’s game were on full display during the opening drive, when junior back Caleb Gerken and classmate and quarterback Clay Denstorff combined for 21 rushing yards and Gerken completed 42 yards worth of passing to senior receiver Ian Riddle and junior Kameron Vidales before again connecting with Riddle for a 2-yard touchdown.
Ethan Mullins’ extra point gave the Yellow Jackets a 7-0 lead over the Panthers with just 3:35 remaining in the opening quarter.
Perrysburg defenders including Denstorff, Riddle, end Nick Coleman, fellow senior and tackle Carl Conley, classmate and cornerback Haydn Smith, sophomore linebacker Jack Higgins and classmate and safety Zane Zaborowski next combined to force back-to-back Maumee punts.
Having been forced to punt on their second possession due to the defensive plays of Panthers junior tackle Lee Hessel and classmate and cornerback Blake Schneider, the Yellow Jackets made good on their third series.
Gerken started things off with 38 yards on three more carries and Denstorff finished the drive off with a 14-yard pass to Riddle before hitting him again for a 28-yard touchdown.
Mullins’ point-after increased Perrysburg’s advantage to 14 points with 10:03 remaining in the second quarter.
Just three plays later, the Yellow Jackets’ Denstorff recovered a Maumee fumble.
After a quick 15-yard gain, Denstorff ran the ball back into the Panthers’ end zone from 5 yards out, allowing Mullins to boot his third extra point of the contest.
Now leading 21-0 with 9:44 left in the opening half, Perrysburg forced Maumee’s fourth punt on plays by Conley, Zaborowski, senior linebacker Ethan Garee and classmate and tackle Carson Gulgin.
From there, the Yellow Jackets launched another long drive that included a pair of first-down runs by Denstorff and a 14-yard pass from Denstorff to Riddle – all of which helped set up an eventual 3-yard touchdown run from Gerken and an ensuing Mullins point-after.
Trailing 28-0 at the 4:43 mark, the Panthers escaped a fifth Perrysburg touchdown when senior safety Blake Adams came up with a timely sack near the end of the half.
Junior Caden Brookshier began the night’s third quarter by returning its first kickoff back 98 yards for Maumee’s first touchdown and senior Kyle Robinson tacked on the extra point to push the score to 28-7.
Unfortunately for the Panthers, though, the Yellow jackets answered immediately.
After he returned the following kick 18 yards, Gerken posted a 14-yard first-down run before breaking free for a 35-yard touchdown.
Mullins’ kick came with 10:35 still remaining in the third and gave Perrysburg a 35-7 lead.
Garee, Gerken, Gulgin, Higgins and senior safety Nate Kutz then forced another Maumee punt before the Yellow Jacket offense struck again.
Perrysburg’s sixth touchdown came on yet another pass from Denstorff to Riddle – this one from 33 yards out – and Mullins’ extra point put the Jackets up 42-7 with 5:53 left in the third.
Smith ended Maumee’s next drive with an interception, but the Panthers’ Brookshier, senior tackle Izaiah Robinson, junior linebacker Alex Drown and sophomore linebacker Noah Fowls made sure no more points were scored in the quarter.
A pair of costly Perrysburg penalties helped propel Maumee into Yellow Jackets territory by the time the fourth frame got underway and the Panthers took full advantage.
A 15-yard rush by senior back Alec Herbster ultimately helped set up an 8-yard touchdown run from Adams and Robinson’s point-after brought Maumee back within 28 points – giving the Panthers the most points they had scored in a game this season.
The Jackets weren’t about to let the rivalry game end on any sort of a positive note for Maumee, however, coming back with yet another long and successful drive.
With Gerken now on the sideline after rushing for 139 yards and two touchdowns on 27 carries, the Perrysburg duo of senior Kevin Olds and sophomore Kameron Olds took over.
Kameron rushed for an initial 30 yards on five carries and Kevin ran for 18 more before breaking loose for a 21-yard touchdown scamper.
Mullins’ last extra point gave the game its final score with just 1:51 still showing on the clock.
Perrysburg’s Denstorff ended up completing 16-of-25 passes for 179 yards and three touchdowns and ran 10 times for 52 more yards and another touchdown.
Riddle caught eight of those passes for 119 yards and three touchdowns and Vidales reeled in seven more for 46 yards.
Conley and Gulgin led the Yellow Jackets defense with six tackles apiece, Zabor-owski added five more, Garee recorded four stops and Higgins and Smith (interception, pass deflection) finished with three tackles each.
Adams paced the Panthers offense by totaling 54 yards and Herbster rushed for 31 more.
Junior safety Zach Marvin led Maumee’s defense with 10 tackles, senior linebacker Justen Behnfeldt added eight more, Brookshier, Drown and senior safety Matt Butler each posted four stops and Fowls and sophomore cornerback Carlton Mathis Jr. both finished with three.
Perrysburg ended its 2018 season with an overall record of 4-6 and a Northern Lakes League mark of 4-3 and Maumee ended up at 0-10.