CHESAPEAKE — When it mattered most on Friday night, the Portsmouth Trojans trusted Tyler Duncan, Brenden Truett and their defense to fend off the Chesapeake Panthers.
That’s because Duncan completed all but five of his 25 pass attempts for 214 yards and a hat trick of touchdowns, Truett toted the football for truly the first time all season, and the Trojans shut out the Panthers for the final 24-plus minutes —all part of Portsmouth’s 35-12 triumph in an Ohio Valley Conference clash at Phil Davis Stadium in Chesapeake.
With the win, the Trojans —which never trailed on Friday despite slim first-half leads of 7-6 and 14-12 —raised their records to 4-3 and 3-1, and remained one game behind undefeateds Ironton and Gallia Academy in the OVC championship chase.
Ironton and Gallia Academy, which edged out Portsmouth 36-34 for the Trojans’ lone league loss, are both 7-0 and 4-0.
The improving Panthers, which endured a winless season last year, are now 2-5 —but have yet to win in four tries inside the OVC, against easily the conference’s top four teams (Gallia Academy, Coal Grove, Ironton and Portsmouth).
Leading 21-12 at halftime, it wasn’t until the second half when Portsmouth pulled away — thanks to two scoring drives which consumed eight minutes and 50 seconds off the clock.
In the third quarter, Truett took one in from five yards out, while Duncan called his own number into the end zone from 20 yards away in the fourth frame.
Portsmouth placekicker Zach Roth made all five of his extra-point attempts, as the Trojans trading first-half touchdowns with the Panthers finally ended — when Reade Pendleton caught his second touchdown pass.
That one was from a mere yard away, and was Duncan’s third TD toss —all in the opening half as he completed 20-of-25 for 214 yards.
He first found Pendleton for a nine-yard paydirt hookup on the Trojans’ opening possession, then later connected with Nolan Heiland for a 67-yard pitch-and-catch and second-stanza score.
Of Duncan’s 20 completions, 11 went to Pendleton for 84 yards — as Heiland had two receptions (80 yards), while Chase Heiland (29 yards) and Jayden Duncan (15 yards) made three catches apiece.
Tyler Duncan also rushed seven times for 47 yards, while Beau Hammond as usual and Truett regularly on Friday night shouldered the bulk of the ballcarrying.
Hammond had a dozen touches for 72 yards, while Truett tallied 82 yards on 10 attempts.
The Trojans doubled up the Panthers in first downs (23-12), outgained them by an even 100 rushing yards (195-95) and almost 200 (409-214) total, and made defensive plays with a blocked extra point and a stuffed two-point conversion.
Portsmouth also withstood a lost first-half fumble, as the Panthers —trailing 7-6 following a 24-yard scoring pass from Jacob Harris to Dannie Maynard after Curtis Brandenburg returned a kickoff into Trojan territory —turned the ball over on downs at the PHS red zone.
Maynard made four receptions for 80 yards for Chesapeake, and Marcus Burnside rushed 13 times for 54 yards —including a one-yard second-quarter dive which made it 14-12.
But from there, the Trojans turned the Panthers away on the two-point pass, then ran away with the second half — and a 21-0 shutout over the final two-and-a-half cantos.
The Trojans return home, and return to OVC action, against Fairland (5-2, 2-2 OVC) for Friday night.
* * *
Portsmouth 7 14 7 7 —35
Chesapeake 6 6 0 0 — 12
P— Reade Pendleton, 9-yard pass from Tyler Duncan (Zach Roth kick), 1st (7-0 P)
C—Dannie Maynard, 24-yard pass from Jacob Harris (kick blocked), 1st (7-6 P)
P—Nolan Heiland, 67-yard pass from Tyler Duncan (Zach Roth kick), 2nd (14-6 P)
C— Marcus Burnside, 1-yard run (pass failed), 2nd (14-12 P)
P— Reade Pendleton, 1-yard pass from Tyler Duncan (Zach Roth kick), 2nd (21-12 P)
P— Brenden Truett, 5-yard run (Zach Roth kick), 3rd (28-12 P)
P— Tyler Duncan, 20-yard run (Zach Roth kick), 4th (35-12 P)
First downs 23 12
Scrimmage plays 58 49
Rushes-yards 33-195 34-95
Passing yards 214 119
Total yards 409 214
Cmp-Att-Int. 20-25-0 7-15-0
Fumbles-lost 3-1 1-0
Penalties-yards 8-80 9-65
Punts-Ave. NA NA
RUSHING — Portsmouth: Brenden Truett 10-82 TD, Beau Hammond 12-72, Tyler Duncan 7-47 TD, Reade Pendleton 1-1, Team 3-(-3); Chesapeake: Marcus Burnside 13-54 TD
PASSING —Portsmouth: Tyler Duncan 20-25-0-214 3TD; Chesapeake: Jacob Harris 7-15-0-119 TD
RECEIVING —Portsmouth: Reade Pendleton 11-84 2TD, Nolan Heiland 2-80 TD, Chase Heiland 3-29, Jayden Duncan 3-15, Nathaniel Berry 1-6; Chesapeake: Dannie Maynard 4-80 TD
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