LUCASVILLE — The fireworks came out in the third quarter — much to the Portsmouth Trojans delight.
After trailing host Valley 14-7 entering the halftime break, the Trojans proceeded to out-score the Indians 35-14 in the second half to secure a season opening win in Lucasville.
The victory gives Portsmouth it’s sixth-straight in the series — a streak dating back to their 32-12 win over the Indians which began the 2016 season.
“We knew we were in for a four quarter matchup,” Portsmouth coach Bruce Kalb said, after the game. “Portsmouth-Valley, it’s the first game in the county so everyone’s here watching. Ended up being a beautiful night for football. We told the kids they’re going to come out with a lot of excitement. New coach, newer staff, new facility. They showed up to play in the first half so we knew we’d have to regroup. The big thing for this week was to persist, no matter what we faced. These young men persisted all the way down to the fourth quarter.”
Despite trailing in both the time of possession and total yardage battles, it was Portsmouth who secured the two-score victory to jump start their ‘22 campaign.
A major component of their win was their special teams play in the second half and forcing Valley turnovers.
The Trojans were set up with excellent field position on four of their five scoring drives in the second half.
“We changed some stuff up special teams wise and it paid off,” Kalb said. “We’re settling in as a staff after five years, pretty happy with that and the win tonight.”
“We felt that if we were going to win, we had to win the turnover battle and limit their big plays. Neither one of those things happened,” Valley coach Nolan Crabtree said, after the game. “Throw in the special teams that turned things around and that’s where we’re at. We had a lot of success offensively, did a lot of good things there. Didn’t capitalize enough and we didn’t limit their big plays.”
Senior quarterback Tyler Duncan and junior wide receiver Devon Lattimore connected six times on the evening — three of which were touchdowns.
Senior Jayden Duncan caught a nine-yard touchdown from Duncan to tie the game at 14-all with 9:36 left in the third quarter — after a mishap on a Valley punt placed the Trojans inside the red zone.
A squib kick recovered by Portsmouth paid off on the very next series when senior Reade Pendleton plunged in from a yard out — giving Portsmouth it’s first lead at 20-14 with 7:30 left in the third.
Lattimore’s 27-yard touchdown with 11:47 to play gave Portsmouth its’ final score of the evening. The junior totaled 159 yards on six catches via Duncan passes.
“We saw that in him last year at Zane Trace. We told him he needed to come in the same way he did last year,” Kalb said, of Lattimore. “He came in this summer and did just that. What a night he had catches passes, playing corner, and returning kicks. This is a kid on the field most of the game.”
Valley took a 14-7 lead into the halftime locker room thanks to a pair of Colt Buckle rushing touchdowns. The senior Buckle tallied three total touchdowns on the ground to go with 78 yards on 17 carries.
Senior quarterback George Arnett and senior wide receiver Carter Nickel connected four times in the air for 106 yards. Nickel’s 23-yard touchdown catch from Arnett gave the Indians their final score of the game, tying the score at 28-28.
“The things that we felt they would give us, we took. Then we got to a spot late where we had to take some chances because we were down, that is what it is. It’s a learning process,” Crabtree said. “We’ve got to get better, turnaround watch film tomorrow, get a good workout and start preparing for Coal Grove.”
Duncan finished the game 18-of-30 passing for 286 yards and four touchdowns. In the second half when the Trojan offense was flat cooking, the senior quarterback completed 10-of-11 passes for 192 yards.
“The big question coming into tonight was, ‘How do you replace Drew Roe?’. You don’t replace Drew Roe, we found a Tyler Duncan. You saw some of the things he was able to extend with his legs. Really, really happy with his performance,” Kalb said, of Duncan. “The way he commands the offense, he really came into his own tonight. We had a true team effort on offense and I couldn’t be more happy with that.”
Portsmouth junior Noah Livingston was the game’s leading tackler, totaling 13 solo tackles and five assisted.
Senior Nolan Heiland intercepted two Valley passes as part of Portsmouth’s five forced turnovers.
“He’s a junior, last year he had to step in as a sophomore. We saw what he was capable of. This is a young man that has a nose for the ball — he plays smart football,” Kalb said, of Livingston. “He always seems to be around the football when he needs to be and he was tonight.”
Portsmouth (1-0) will host Portsmouth West at Trojan Coliseum in their home opener on Friday, August 26.
Valley (0-1) travels to Coal Grove in their week two matchup.
Portsmouth 7 0 28 7 — 42
Valley 14 0 14 0 — 28
V — Colt Buckle, 5-yard run (Buckle PAT good); 7-0 V 5:50 1Q
P — Devon Lattimore, 14-yard pass from Tyler Duncan (Roth PAT good); 7-7 5:25 1Q
V — Colt Buckle, 1-yard run (Buckle PAT good); 14-7 V 1:27 1Q
P — Jayden Duncan, 9-yard pass from Tyler Duncan (Roth PAT good); 14-14 9:36 3Q
P — Reade Pendleton, 2-yard run (blocked PAT); 20-14 P 7:30 3Q
V — Colt Buckle, 2-yard run (blocked PAT); 20-20 4:56 3Q
P — Devon Lattimore, 71-yard pass from Tyler Duncan (2-point try good); 28-20 P 3:23 3Q
V — Carter Nickel, 23-yard pass from George Arnett (2-point try good); 28-28 2:10 3Q
P — Beau Hammond, 1-yard run (Roth PAT good); 35-28 P 1:32 3Q
P — Devon Lattimore, 27-yard pass from Tyler Duncan (Roth PAT good); 42-28 P 11:47 4Q
|Penalties||9 for 55 yards||6 for 38 yards|
|Time of Possession||19:16||28:44|
Tyler Duncan (P): 18/30, 286 yards, 4TD, 1INT; George Arnett (V): 21/33 255 yards, 1TD, 1INT, Carter Nickel: (V) 1/2, 7 yards, 1INT
Brenden Truitt (P) 4-23, Tyler Duncan (P) 1-3, Reade Pendleton (P) 2-7 TD, Beau Hammond (P) 13-30 TD, Jayden Duncan (P) 1-(-5); George Arnett (V) 13-61, Gabe McNeil (V) 9-4, Colt Buckle 17-78 3TD
Devon Lattimore (P) 6-159 3TD, Nolan Heiland (P) 2-64, Reade Pendleton (P) 4-39, Beau Hammond (P) 4-5, Jayden Duncan (P) 2-19 TD; Gabe McNeil (V) 2-11, Hunter Edwards (V) 1-19, Jaekyn Ridout (V) 4-26, Carter Nickel (V) 4-106 TD, Aiden Waughtel (V) 2-11
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 370-0713 ext. 1930, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT © 2022 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved