MINFORD — Big plays in a physical game helped the Portsmouth West Senators earn a 29-16 road win at Minford in a week -seven Southern Ohio Conference Division II contest on Friday night.
The victory gave West its sixth-straight triumph to improve its overall mark to 6-1.
It was also the Senators’ first win over the Falcons since the 2018 season.
“We knew coming out to Minford it would be a tough game. They’re always prepared, they play well against us and have for a long time,” West coach Todd Gilliland said, after the win. “They put a really good game plan together and made us tackle their big backs in space.”
Coming out of the second-half locker-room with a 13-9 lead, West junior Jeffery Bishop returned the kickoff 80 yards deep into Minford territory to set up a Ryan Sissel touchdown run.
Sissel toted the ball 28 times on the ground for a team-high 164 yards, and his nine-yard scoring run gave the Senators a 21-9 lead early in the third quarter.
A 40-yard reception by West junior Cole Tipton on a pass from senior quarterback Mitchell Irwin put the Senators deep into Falcon territory once again — this time in the late stages.
Three plays later, a 3-yard quarterback run by Irwin gave West a 29-16 lead with 4:04 to play — after Minford got the game within five in the late third.
“Those are guys that have made big plays for us all year. We don’t expect anything less. When we need them the most, they step up and make big plays. Those were keys moments,” Gilliland said. “Kickoff that took us deep in their territory and punch one in early to get that momentum in the second half was big. Late in the game, that catch was really big because that was a tough, contested ball. That kind of sealed the deal for us because we were able to punch it in.”
Minford junior Jeffery Pica accounted for 219 of the Falcons’ 280 offensive yards, and both of their touchdowns.
On the ground, Pica ran for 171 yards on 21 carries and caught three passes from Peyton Caudill for 48 yards.
His 11-yard touchdown run with 4:24 left in the third put Minford down five at 21-16.
Prior to the drive that set up West’s late score, the Senator defense turned Minford over on downs.
A sack by sophomore Mason Parker of Caudill on fourth down ended the Falcons’ go-ahead chance with 8:08 left.
In total, West’s defense allowed just 55 yards of Minford offense through the air.
Brandon Anderson’s interception of Caudill with 3:35 to play sealed the West victory, as it led by what would be the final score.
“On the back end coverage-wise I thought we did a great job. We were able to shut down their passing game. They had some big, strong backs and we struggled to tackle them at times. We were a step behind at times, out of position; they made us work on defense,” Gilliland said. “We’ve got some things we need to clean up in the run game, but overall our kids played hard and they found a way to win.”
While West improves to 6-1, the Falcons suffered their second straight defeat and fell to 4-3.
“We don’t care if it’s a one-point win or a 30-point win, it’s a conference win. We were able to come out of it and persevered through it, come out on top in the fourth quarter and that’s big for our kids.”
After Friday’s results, West and Wheelersburg are the lone two unbeaten teams in the SOC II standings.
The Senators host Valley in week eight, while Minford travels to Oak Hill seeking its fifth win.
“We’ve said can only control that one game that’s in front of us. All we can focus on this week is Valley, we’re expecting their best and we think that could be another battle,” Gilliland said.
West 7 6 8 8 — 29
Minford 6 3 7 0 — 16
M — Jeffrey Pica, 29-yard run (PAT no good); 6-0 M 4:06 1Q
W — Trevor Fike, 23-yard pass from Mitchell Irwin (Carson Malnar PAT good); 7-6 W :30 1Q
W — Jeffery Bishop, 5-yard pass from Mitchell Irwin (2-point try failed); 13-6 W 5:14 2Q
M — Myles Montgomery, 37-yard field goal; 13-9 W :49 2Q
W — Ryan Sissel, 1-yard run (2-point try successful); 21-9 W 10:33 3Q
M — Jeffrey Pica, 9-yard run (Myles Montgomery PAT good); 21-16 W 4:24 3Q
W — Mitchell Irwin, 1-yard run (2-point try successful); 29-16 W4:04 4Q
|Yards (Pass-Rush)||380 (152-228)||284 (55-229)|
|Penalties||7 for 75 yards||4 for 30 yards|
|Time of Possession||24:25||23:35|
Passing: Mitchell Irwin (W) 9/16 152 yards 2TD INT; Peyton Caudill (M) 4/14 55 INT
Rushing: Ryan Sissel (W) 28-164 TD, Mitchell Irwin (W) 8-36 TD, Mason Parker (W) 3-12, Jeffery Bishop (W) 3-19, Hayden Lore (W) 1-0, Team (W) 1-(-3); Jeffrey Pica (M) 21-171 2TD, Peyton Caudill (M) 16-36, Tysen Kingery (M) 6-22
Receiving: Cole Tipton (W) 4-90, Jeffery Bishop (W) 2-24 TD, Trevor Fike (W) 1-23 TD, Brandon Anderson (W) 1-6, Ryan Sissel (W) 1-9; Jeffrey Pica (M) 3-48, Jackson Shoemaker (M) 1-7
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