Friday night marked the rivalry matchup that this area salivates over year round; the Portsmouth Trojans (1-2) and the Wheelersburg Pirates (3-0). At the close, the Pirates shut the Trojans out 42-0.
The game started with Trojans sophomore quarterback Cole Lowery fighting to get the ball anywhere but behind him. It was a quick drive that ended with a tipped pass on an attempted fourth down conversion, leaving the Pirates with the football on their own 26.
Senior tailback Jordan Howard only needed two plays to run the Pirates offense to the 5-yard line. Chasen Burk ran the remaining five yards, side -tepping two Trojan defenders for the first of six touchdowns on the night with only four minutes sponged from the clock.
All over the county games were delayed due to rain and lightning. The rain did nothing to stop this rivalry game from happening. The rain stopped right at the beginning of the second half of play. By this, point the Pirates had scored 28 of their points.
Howard was responsible for three of Wheelersburgs touchdowns on the night. A six-yard rush in the first quarter with less than three minutes on the clock, a 26-yard touchdown run after the Pirates recovered a Trojan fumble late in the second quarter and a 85-yard kick return at the start of the second half. Howard also intercepted Lowery in the first quarter while playing corner.
The other three scorers were Burk on Wheelersburg’s first drive, sophomore tight end Xander Carmichael on a 6-yard rush midway through the second quarter, and sophomore Eli Ruby with a 8-yard rush with just under eight minutes left in the fourth quarter.
Wheelersburg junior kicker Daylor Lewis was six-for-six on extra points for the evening, amid rain and wind.
Although the game didn’t offer the Trojans the chance to put themselves on the board, there were a few moments that showed the athleticism of the Portsmouth offense. Senior running back Austin Hollins received a high pass from Lowery, one handed, pulling it down and tucking it safely in his arm. It was a moment that rallied the Portsmouth fans.
The Trojans split their tailback duties for the night between Hollins and senior Darray Richardson. Both players were out-attempted by quarterback Lowery, who elected to run the ball more than he handed it off.
Lowery took the ball up the middle for 11 yards on one successful play, bringing the Trojans out a third-and-eight scenario.
The Trojans accumulated 65 all-purpose yards, split between five passing attempts with only two completions and 24 rushing attempts for 45 yards. It was a hard loss for a young team, but they played hard the entire game. The defense worked overtime the entire game. Portsmouths senior corner Dylan Mullins intercepted Wheelersburg’s senior quarterback Kyle Davis in the second half that gave the Trojans good field position near midfield.
Portsmouth takes the field again next Friday, when they play their first-ever OVC game at Fairland. Wheelersburg returns to Ed Miller Stadium next Saturday, when they host Cincinnati North College Hill.
Cody Leightenheimer is a stringer for the Portsmouth Daily Times. You can reach him @leightenheimer