The Portsmouth Trojans’ 42-7 win over the Gallia Academy Blue Devils took them one step closer to their goal of the season. Though still early in the season, the Week Five conference game gave the Trojans hope for the Ohio Valley Conference.
For the first half of the night, it was anybody’s game. The Trojans, who had won three ballgames against more experienced teams already this season, were only able to pull off one touchdown in the first quarter. The Trojans came out scoring again early in the second quarter, but the Blue Devils met that score with a touchdown of their own. With under a minute left before the halftime show, Portsmouth was only up by one touchdown, but the winds of change were about to blow through the field and whisk the Trojans to victory.
“We thought we had the upper hand coming into this game,” Trojan Coach Aaron Duncan stated.
Duncan explained that Gallia Academy Coach Josh Riffe is working with a young, inexperienced team. Still, that rebuilding process does not always mean a bad season. The Blue Devils have a history of playing hard. Duncan reinforced this fact in his team but said it took them half a game to really understand.
“We knew that we couldn’t come out flat,” Duncan commented.
Duncan started the game with a little disappointment, knowing his guys could play harder.
“We may have played down to the level of competition early on tonight,” The Portsmouth Coach stated.
However, that disappointment didn’t last long.
“We came out playing flat at the beginning, but we lit a fire under them in the second half and they came out playing how they should’ve played the entire game and were able to put it away.”
Both teams came out playing hard in the third. Scoring three times in the quarter, the Trojans came out showing what they are made of. Blue Devils Wyatt Sipple and Justin McClelland fought hard to walk off the field with their first win of the season. Unfortunately for the Devils, it wasn’t their game. Coming out with some decent plays, Gallia Academy just couldn’t push through Portsmouth defense. After pushing for yardage and with only three minutes left in the quarter, McClelland passed to the end zone, but the pass was intercepted and the Devils lost the ball on downs putting it back in Trojan hands. The Trojans rushed the ball the first and goal. Within two minutes of gaining the ball, Portsmouth scored their final touchdown of the night, which also started a running clock which the Trojans ran out.
Following the game, Duncan couldn’t have been more proud of his Trojans, explaining that their five win season was a long time in the making.
“We haven’t had this many wins a long time,” he stated.
Duncan went on to say that this many wins early on builds confidence, which the team is going to need if their goals go beyond winning a few games.
“They don’t want to stop there. They want to go the OVC Championship. That’s their goal,” Duncan confirmed.
After playing an excellent game, excited Trojan quarterback Luke Purdy – who threw a 59-yard touchdown against Valley in Week One, a 35-yard touchdown against Portsmouth West in Week Two and a 35-yard touchdown against Rock Hill in Week Four – clarified that the OVC Championship is the Trojans’ first goal. After that, they plan on going to playoffs.
“We’ve really come together as a team,” Purdy said in explanation of how the team has been able to accomplish so much this season.
Purdy commented that the confidence and spirit of the team has reached a new level.
“The spirit is unbelievable,” he stressed.
Purday said that in order for Portsmouth to make it to the playoffs they are going to have to continue to work together and to count on leadership.
“We’re going to have to stick together no matter what,” Purdy said. “Tough times will come. Leadership is key. We are going to have to rely on leadership to get through when those touch times come.”
The Portsmouth Trojans have a 7 p.m. kickoff at Dawson-Bryant next week. Dawson-Bryant has only had one loss and may be a bump in the road to conference for the Trojans.
Reach Nikki at 740-353-3101, ext. 1924.