Russell DeMarco was born in Fremont and lived in Indiana for 11 years.
DeMarco moved from Port Clinton to Washington after the Redskins football game against Perkins last season before returning to Port Clinton in the spring.
The junior feels most at home in Port Clinton.
“You build a brotherhood in the season and it tore me apart to leave and all I wanted to do was come back,” DeMarco said. “That’s home. I’m a Redskin. I didn’t want to leave them and words can’t describe how elated I was to be back with them.”
They were pleased with the development as well. DeMarco, the News Herald’s defensive player of the year, established a single-season record with 55 solo tackles at defensive end.
“He’s a leader in the offseason,” Port Clinton coach Beau Carmon said. “He picked up where he left off. To be elected a captain as a junior says what you bring work ethic-wise. He put in the time in the spring and summer.
“He has natural ability to play football. You add that work ethic and he’s a great player. He’s fun to watch on defense.”
DeMarco moved from defensive tackle to defensive end as a sophomore. He’s been part of the first two teams to qualify for the postseason in program history.
The Redskins allowed 23 points or fewer in seven games, including two shutouts. Port Clinton beat Huron for the first time in 20 years and Oak Harbor for the first time since 2009 in the Sandusky Bay Conference.
“It’s great to see the progress start to come together,” DeMarco said of the team. “I went to camps in the summer to get better. It makes me want to work harder. I only have so much time left and I want to make it the best I can.”
DeMarco was often double-teamed and had his struggles in a few games. He also made plays and kept blockers off teammates.
DeMarco blocked a punt that set up first-and-goal before Port Clinton scored the game’s only points in a 7-0 win over Fostoria. He stripped the ball from quarterback Matt Schweinfurth and Darius Daniels recovered the fumble as the Redskins halted Perkins’ 22-game home winning streak.
Port Clinton’s Joey Brenner threw a touchdown pass on the ensuing possession.
“He’s athletic,” Carmon said. “He really understands the game. I talk to him about what I hated as an offensive lineman. He’s great with (coach) Phil (Fought). He takes coaching. He played against some good tackles.
“He has a motor. He has a nose for the football and you can double him, but he won’t quit. Even 10 yards down field.”
DeMarco had 14 tackles for a loss, seven sacks and forced two fumbles. He added 38 assists.
“He goes 100 percent all the time,” Redskins running back Emerson Lowe said. “In practice, it’s tough sometimes to get a play off because he’s always in the backfield. I’m glad he’s on my team and not chasing me around.”
Carmon would like to see DeMarco gain about 15 pounds to get up to 220. It would help with leverage, but DeMarco already has several tricks.
“He’ll set you up full speed and then rip,” Carmon said. “He’ll push the edge hard and when the tackle kicks out he’ll bull rush. He has that power and versatility.”
DeMarco worked against teammates who helped him improve in Trent Williams and Stone Scott. DeMarco has a mean-streak and menacing glare that is recognizable behind a face mask if you look into his eyes.
It’s not permanent.
“He’s got that defensive look,” Carmon said. “That’s why I didn’t play defense. He backs it up. He has that switch in practice and games. He’s very quiet off the field with a great smile.
“We want gentlemen off the field but tough guys on the field.”