That wasn't the case for the Portsmouth, which came out of the gate on full throttle, defeating Marietta 41-14 at Marietta on Friday, increasing their chances of reaching the playoffs.
The Trojans struck quick and fast after returning the opening kickoff to the 20-yard line. Junior Jon Royster took a handoff up the middle and scampered 80 yards for the score.
"We did it the right way,” Portsmouth Coach Curt Clifford said of the trip. “We took our time and stopped and ate halfway and got the kids over into the hotel and settled before we brought them over and I think the feeling that they weren't just getting off the bus helped.”
After the quick opening drive, the Trojans forced Marietta to punt and continued to pound the ball behind the offensive line, driving 80 yards capped off by a Josh Myers five yard score.
A three-and-out by Marietta on its next drive turned the ball over again to the Trojans at their own 15 and Myers again punched it in from eight yards out after a big 52 yard run by junior Angelo Jackson. That drive of 85 yards took just 1:19 off the clock and the Trojans were up to a 20-0 lead before the first quarter was over.
The Trojans' defense forced another three-and-out and the first play of the second quarter became almost a mirror of the opening play in the first quarter as Royster took a handoff up the gut and raced down the sidelines for an 82-yard score.
"The offensive line really practiced hard this week and that's what we wanted to do was to run the ball and we executed our gameplan very well especially in the first half," Portsmouth junior tackle Casey Sanders said.
The Trojans racked up more than 465 yards on the ground in the first half against the Tigers. The Trojans were led by a three-headed rushing attack led by Myers, who had 166 yards, and backs Royster with 163 and Angelo Jackson with 101.
"It's been a long time since that has happened," Clifford said, as all three backs finished the game with more than 100 yards apiece.
While the offense was rolling on all cylinders, the defense also was up to the task and not to be out-shined as it held Marietta to just 89 total yards in the first half. It also did a good job on holding one of the top rushers in the SEOAL, Marietta's Perry Wheeler, to just 73 yards in the game.
Marietta came out in the second half and started passing the ball around as QB Matt McKitrick threw for a 26-yard score to get on the board early in the third. Then after a three-and-out by the Trojans, Marietta got backed into a punting situation and punted a ball that was deflected off a Trojan defender and the Tigers took over at the Trojans' four-yard line. Two plays later the Tigers found the endzone. That would be the last of the scoring for the Tigers.
Portsmouth also scored through the air as Myers found junior Colin Staker from 26 yards out to end the scoring, putting the Trojans over 600 yards of total offense finishing with 610, with 577 on the ground. The Trojans will now pack up and travel again next week going to Western Brown in hopes of making the playoffs.
The win Friday was special for Portsmouth because it secured a winning season for the nine seniors on the team. A huge turnaround from a 1-9 team last year.
NOTES: The Trojans will stay overnight in Marietta and head up to Ohio University in the morning to watch former Trojan and Kent State offensive coordinator A.J. Pratt take on the the Ohio Bobcats.
Clifford also sent a special hello to his daughter Courtney who was unable to attend tonight's game.
Portsmouth 20 14 0 7 – 41
Marietta 0 0 14 0 – 14
RUSHING – Portsmouth — Myers 21-205, Jackson 13-159, Royster 6-161, Kennedy 4-39, Reeves 1-11, Cosby 2-1, Collins 1-1. Marietta — Wheeler 14-73.
PASSING – Portsmouth: Myers 2-4-0 33. Marietta: McKitrick 7-15-2 57.
RECEIVING – Portsmouth: Staker 1-26, Royster 1-7
Record — Portsmouth 6-3 (4-2); Marietta 1-7
Scoring summary and complete stats for Marietta were unavailable at press time.