SPRING VALLEY, W. Va. — It was a comeback bid for the ages, and — truth be told — almost the stunner of the year for Southeastern Ohio area football.
However, in the end, two touchdowns by the Spring Valley Timberwolves in the game’s final 56 seconds secured Spring Valley’s victory over upset-minded and visiting Portsmouth —a 42-31 outcome on Friday night inside the Wolves’ Den in West Virginia.
The Trojans, trailing 21-0 in the opening half and 28-7 at halftime, hammered down in the second half —behind senior quarterback Tyler Duncan, whose two rushing touchdowns and two throwing touchdowns dialed up the terrific Trojan rally.
In addition, Portsmouth placekicker Zach Roth registered four-of-four extra-point kicks, then put Portsmouth ahead 31-28 with two minutes and 13 seconds remaining —on a 32-yard field goal.
But, for the second time in its two games so far, Spring Valley rallied back for the victory in the final minute.
In their opener, the Timberwolves won over visiting Huntington High 29-28 —thanks to quarterback Dalton Fouch’s 10-yard touchdown run, and subsequent two-point conversion pass.
This time, Fouch found Jalyn Abercrombie open for a 13-yard TD reception with 56 seconds showing —as Abercrombie also returned an ensuing kickoff following the first Trojan touchdown 86 yards to make it 28-7.
Obviously, both scores —and Abercrombie’s all-purpose yardage of 226 total —were crucial for the hosts.
His go-ahead touchdown, with Landon Mosser making the extra point, turned the Trojans’ short-lived lead into a 35-31 deficit —as the Timberwolves worked quickly and drove 60 yards in four plays following Roth’s field goal.
Duncan then threw an interception only 30 seconds later —as Kyrell Lewis returned it 53 yards to paydirt, and Mosser made the extra point for the 42-31 final.
The loss left Portsmouth at 1-2 —as only a week earlier the Trojans took a physical wear-down from the archrival West Senators 34-7.
The Trojans, playing the Timberwolves in their first all-time meeting, were viewed as overwhelming underdogs according to some observers, given the strength of Spring Valley —and amid speculation of Portsmouth playing without some injured standouts.
The Timberwolves took a 21-0 first-half lead, when both Bruin Booth and Logan Perry scored on two-yard touchdown runs —and Fouch threw a three-yard TD toss to Cody Shy.
Mosser made all six of his extra points, including after Abercrombie on the aforementioned kickoff return —which immediately answered Duncan’s 12-yard touchdown run.
But Duncan, in what became a duel with the quarterbacks, did his part to rally his Trojan troops.
Duncan dove into the end zone from a yard away, then made it 28-21 — following a one-yard touchdown pass to fellow senior Reade Pendleton.
The Trojans tied the game at 28-28 in the fourth quarter —when Duncan hooked up with fellow senior Nolan Heiland, for a 75-yard scoring strike and Roth’s fourth and final extra-point kick.
Roth then made his field goal, but Fouch —who completed 16-of-27 passes for 229 yards — once again led his Timberwolves to another come-from-behind victory.
Duncan did complete 22-of-39 for 248 yards, and accounted for all four Trojan touchdowns in the losing yet valiant comeback effort.
The Trojans return home, and open Ohio Valley Conference competition on Friday night, against 2-1 Rock Hill.
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. inside Trojan Coliseum.
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