PORTSMOUTH — The Trojans had to wait over 24 hours, erase a seven-point deficit and make a final defensive stand, but after the final whistle sounded, Portsmouth beat West 18-13 Saturday night.
“This is going to go along way for that locker room’s physique,” Trojans coach Aaron Duncan said. “Awkward circumstances, they had to come back a day later. We were concerned they’d be a little flat having to come back on back-to-back days. These kids weren’t flat at all … “
One player who was ready to play from the beginning was Austin Hollins. The duel-threat Trojan lead the team with 43 yards rushing and 90 yards receiving. Hollins also crossed the goal line twice, once via the ground and once through the air.
Hollins first touchdown was a 19-yard reception late in the second quarter, which was the first points Portsmouth (1-1) had put on the board in the young season. However, the Trojans weren’t finished. A minute late, Omaru Carter returned a punt 75 yards to paydirt.
The special teams miscue was the second in as many weeks for West (0-2).
“We try to hang our hat on being disciplined, not getting penalties and playing good special teams,” Senators head coach Ben Johnson said. “But we’ve struggled with that this year. We’ve just got to get better.”
With the Trojans leading 18-13 in the fourth quarter, Portsmouth embarked on a 8:52 drive, which ended with a turnover on downs at the Senator 12-yard line. However, despite not coming away with points, Portsmouth achieved its goal of shortening the game with a drive that covered 80 yards on 17 plays.
“That is the kids,” Duncan said. “The kids answered the bell. They responded and moved the ball down the field, got first down after first down. (Cole Lowery) commanded the four-minute drill. He worked the 25-second clock down and we just kept grinding first down after first down.
“I would loved to have finished it and not have that dramatic finish at the end, but I’m just really excited for the kids and this staff works hard. The kids deserved this win. Hopefully it gets us going in the right direction.”
Even though West wasn’t able to get off the field for the majority of the quarter, Johnson admitted it was great execution by Portsmouth.
“The defense has just got to find a way to get off the field,” Johnson said. “But give credit to them, their kids just kept making plays. That takes a lot of execution to go that far without something funny happening, without them getting a penalty, without them fumbling the ball away or throwing an interception. Sometimes you just get beat.”
Once the Senators stopped the Trojan drive, West’s offense drove to the Portsmouth 29-yard line before Timmy Hacker came away with the game ending interception on a 4th-and-7 play.
“We just made too many little mistakes at critical times and we kept shooting ourselves in the foot,” Johnson said. “What a great effort by our guys to get the fourth-down stop at the end and march back down the field, and take some shots. Hats off to Portsmouth, they did a great job; great job by coach Duncan and his staff, they had their kids ready to play and they came out on top tonight.”
Reach Chris Slone at 740-353-3101, ext 1930, or on Twitter @crslone.
West — Robinson 10 yd run (Hoggard kick), 5:18
Portsmouth — Hollins 19 yd pass from Lowery (PAT blocked), 1:37
Portsmouth — Carter 75 yd punt return (failed conversion), :07
Portsmouth — Hollins 5 yd run (failed conversion), 6:08
West — Frasure 9 yd run (failed conversion), 2:11
Rushing — West: Swords 13-82, Robinson 9-36, Frasure 6-34, Kegley 2-9, Douthat 6-2; Portsmouth: Hollins 16-43, Lowery 19-41, Richardson 6-21.
Passing — West: Douthat 5-12-99; Portsmouth: Lowery 9-17-124.
Receiving — West: Swords 3-64, Oliver 1-24, Bays 1-11; Portsmouth: Hollins 5-90, Williams 2-20, Purdy 2-14.
West 0-2, Portsmouth 1-1.