CHESAPEAKE, Ohio — The Trojans couldn’t bottle up the Panthers as Chesapeake used a fumble return, punt return and a high-octane offense to put up 49 points as the Panthers beat the Trojans 49-13 Friday night.
Portsmouth (4-3, 2-2) wasn’t able to contain the Panther rushing attack, allowing 389 yards on 27 attempts. Casey McComas was the No. 1 enemy of the Trojans as he rushed eight times for 196 yards and two touchdowns — McComas also had a 65-yard punt return. Portsmouth’s defense also struggled to contain Cecil Flether who scored one touchdown while rushing for 72 yards on six attempts.
“That was speed on display out there tonight,” Trojans head coach Aaron Duncan said. “We pride ourselves on having good athletes, they have some exceptional athletes. Their quarterback (McComas) really makes them go. He bounced back this week and was fully healthy. You could see his legs on full display out there. And (Cecil) Fletcher was another skilled athlete.
“They spread us out. They knew they needed to use their speed to get on the perimeter and they were able to exceed in doing that. That hasn’t been what they’ve run all year. They’ve lined up in more run sets, which is what they ran at the end of the game. They must of thought their best chance was to spread us out and make us play in space. That was good strategy, hats off to their coach.”
Portsmouth was led by Taylan Parker who rushed for 15 attempts for 108 yards. However, despite Parker’s big game, the Trojans made early mistakes that hurt their chances. Portsmouth finished with two turnovers and committed nine turnovers for 96 yards.
“Penalties and turnovers hurt us early, and then we had to get out of those sets in our game plan, which was ball control and control the clock, we wanted to keep the ball from those great athletes,” Duncan said. “Once we got behind, we couldn’t stay in our game plan. We had to get in our spread sets and try to get some quick scores.
“We saw what Ironton was able to do to them and Ironton was able to lineup and run their power sets. We tried to run the same thing. We were able to accomplish that early on and we were moving the ball, but we were are own worst enemy.”
The Trojan game plan were awry after receiving the opening kickoff. Portsmouth drove the ball to the Chesapeake side of the field before a fumble abruptly ended the drive, while also putting Portsmouth in an early hole after McComas returned the gift 65 yards for the Panther touchdown.
After a false start was called against the Trojans, Portsmouth elected to punt the ball on their next drive and the Trojan defense once again had no answers for Chesapeake’s ground game as Fletcher put the Panthers up 13-0 after scoring from 33 yards out.
After tailing 27-0 late in the opening half, the Trojans drove into Chesapeake territory once again but an interception halted Portsmouth’s momentum.
As far as the Trojans two touchdowns, quarterback Luke Purdy was responsible for both. Purdy found Ryan Williams from 25 yards out in the third quarter before scoring from a yard out in the fourth.
Chesapeake — McComas 65 yd fumble return (Nida kick), 9:30
Chesapeake — Fletcher 33 yd run (Conversion no good), 1:41
Chesapeake —McComas 28 yd run (Nida kick), 9:43
Chesapeake — Bartrum 16 yd run (Nida kick), 4:15
Portsmouth — Williams 25 yd pass from Purdy (Willis kick), 10:50
Chesapeake — McComas 43 yd run (Nida kick), 10:10
Chesapeake — Wilcoxon 60 yd punt return (Nida kick), 8:16
Chesapeake — Fletcher 1 yd run (Nida), 11:01
Portsmouth — Purdy 1 yd run (Kick failed), 6:260
Rushing — Portsmouth: Parker 12-108, Lansing 14-42, Purdy 11-39; Chesapeake: McComas 8-196, Fletcher 6-72, Wilcoxon 3-53, Bartrum 3-36, Scott 4-18, Harless 2-11, Walsh 1-3
Passing — Portsmouth: Purdy 2-5; Chesapeake: McComas 0-4
Receiving — Portsmouth: Williams 1-25, Purdy 1-9; Chesapeake:
Portsmouth 4-3 (2-2); Chesapeake 6-1 (3-1).
Reach Chris Slone at 740-353-3101, ext 1930, or on Twitter @crslone.