Portsmouth looks to rebound in Gallipolis

John Stegeman, PDT Sports Editor

October 4, 2012

PDT Sports Report

After a loss to Logan in its SEOAL opener, Portsmouth (1-5) will be looking to rebound with a trip to Gallia Academy (4-2).

Last week the Trojans continued to display the ability to move the ball, but could not translate the yards into the points.

“There were things we were close to doing, but we couldn’t quite do it,” Portsmouth coach Curt Clifford said. “We have averaged more than 300 yards a game offensively, but we have 11 trips into the red zone where we came away without any points.”

Clifford said the difference in last week’s game was Logan’s mistake-free play, compared to Portsmouth’s sloppy work with the football.

“We are still a young football team and we seem to be our own worst enemy,” Clifford said.

Focus shifted to a Gallia Academy team that has an average margin of a little more than 27 points in its four victories, while only a margin of 7.5 points in its two losses. One of those losses was by one point to Ironton, which beat Portsmouth 61-34 in Week 5.

“One thing we know, they are a tough bunch of kids,” Clifford said. “They get after you.”

Clifford said his staff’s film study of Gallia Academy, which won its SEOAL opener against Chillicothe 20-7 last week, revealed a Blue Devils team that runs a blitzing 40 defense and an offense that features just about everything but the kitchen sink.

“They run the gamut on offense,” the coach said. “They run the Triple-I, the Wing-T and the spread which makes it difficult to plan against. What we did was pick three schemes defensively to present and just keep it simple.”

According the Clifford, leadership has emerged offensively in quarterback Brandon Wedebrook and running back Johnie Charles while Isiah Lisath and Khalil Lattimore have filled the leadership void defensively.

The coach said any chance for the Trojans to triumph over the Blue Devils will hinge on execution.

“The kids have studied our scouting reports and done a great job. We just need to play well and stay fundamental and we will have a chance,” Clifford said.

Wheelersburg (5-1, 1-0) at Waverly (1-5, 0-1)

Waverly will try to play spoiler Friday night when Wheelersburg comes into town for an SOC II showdown.

The Tigers gave the Pirates a scare last year, going into the locker room tied 14-14, before Wheelersburg pulled away on Homecoming 34-14. Waverly did make a name for itself in the SOC II a year ago, going 2-1 at home during conference play.

For the Pirates, the goal will be to build upon last week’s 48-0 shutout of Northwest on Homecoming night. Waverly will look to snap a two-game slide after last week’s 35-7 loss at Valley.

Minford (6-0, 1-0) at Northwest (0-6, 0-1)

Minford looks to keep climbing towards an SOC II crown and a playoff berth in Division IV, Region 15 as the Falcons travel to McDermott and pay a visit to Northwest.

Last week, Minford took care of host West 17-6 in the SOC II opener for both schools. On the other side of the spectrum, the Mohawks were the victims of a 48-0 defeat to host Wheelersburg.

The Falcons shut out Northwest 43-0 in last year’s meeting. After this game, the remaining records of Minford’s opponents are a combined 12-6 with Waverly’s 1-5 mark sandwiched between Wheelersburg (5-1) and Valley (6-0).

Symmes Valley (5-1, 1-0) at East (3-3, 0-1)

East will get another major challenge this week when defending SOC I champion Symmes Valley plays at Allard Park.

The Tartans have lost their last three outings by a combined score of 143-26, which includes last Friday’s 49-0 home loss to Oak Hill to start SOC I play. The Vikings are proving why they are the defending champions in Division I after beating host Green 41-6 a week ago.

Symmes Valley won last year’s battle in Willow Wood 42-12.

Green (3-3) at Waterford (1-5)

It’s Green’s turn to play outside of the SOC I as the Bobcats travel to Waterford.

Although the Wildcats record may be at 1-5, those numbers can be deceiving. In their five losses, their opponents have a combined record of 24-6 entering this week’s action.

Green is looking to make it two wins in the last three weeks. The Bobcats defeated Northwest 33-15 two weeks ago and lost 41-6 last Friday to defending SOC I champion Symmes Valley.

Waterford won last year’s contest in Franklin Furnace 13-7.

Columbus Bishop Watterson (3-3) at Ironton (5-1)

Ironton goes from the frying pan to the fire Friday night as the Fighting Tigers welcome in Columbus Bishop Watterson.

Last week, Ironton suffered its first loss of the season, a 44-31 defeat at Paintsville (Ky.) Johnson Central. The Eagles fly into Lawrence County having lost three-straight, including last week’s 28-14 road loss to Columbus Bishop Hartley, the No. 1 team in the latest Associated Press Division IV poll.

Next week, those same Hawks (6-0) invade Tanks Memorial Stadium. Although the Fighting Tigers did not face Watterson last season, they battled Hartley to a 34-16 loss in Gahanna.

Unioto (3-3, 1-2) at Piketon (4-2, 2-1)

It’s Senior Night at Piketon at the Redstreaks welcome Unioto in an SVC contest.

For Piketon, which stands seventh in the latest Division IV, Region 15 computer rankings, the goal will be to send 19 seniors out on a high note while still vying for the conference crown and a playoff berth. The Shermans are knocking on the door, currently in ninth in the same region while Zane Trace, who lost 27-14 last week to these same Redstreaks, are eighth.

Unioto pulled off the 35-26 stunner last season in Chillicothe. The Shermans are coming off a 34-31 home heart-breaker to Chillicothe Huntington.

Greenup County (0-6) at Paintsville Johnson Central (5-1)

It’s another uphill battle for Greenup County this week as the Musketeers travel into Paintsville to take on a Johnson Central ball club that has made some headlines.

The Golden Eagles handed visiting Ironton its first loss of the season in a 44-31 decision last week. Johnson Central has also defeated Hayesville (NC) and Logan (WV) earlier in the season. Greenup County is coming off a 24-10 home setback to Morehead Rowan County.

Johnson Central won last year’s meeting 58-6 in Lloyd.