Post season success is nothing new for the West Portsmouth Tanks and head coach Jamie Rice.
On Saturday night, the Tanks made the two hour journey west on highway 52 to Northwest High School to face the Cincinnati Dukes. The Dukes were one of the only teams that the Tanks had not faced yet this season, but that did not factor into the final score as the Tanks defeated the Dukes 28-13. The victory over the Dukes locked the Tanks place in the Blue Collar Football League championship game for the fifth time in six seasons under Rice.
The Tanks scored the first points of the game on the game’s first drive thanks to a Job Swords twenty-seven yard touchdown pass to Mecca Swain. The extra point attempt by the Tanks was blocked, making the initial score 6-0. The Dukes countered the Tanks opening drive with an eight play, seventy three yard drive that ended in a rushing touchdown and the lead shifting extra point put the Dukes ahead 7-6. This would be only one of two touchdowns the Dukes would score for the entirety of the game.
The game would remain scoreless until the final few minutes of the first half, when the Tanks would turn up their offensive firepower to take a commanding lead into halftime. Their second touchdown of the half came as a result of another connection between Job Swords and Mecca Swain. Swain, who earned player of the game honors, finished the game with five catches, 115 yards, and two touchdowns. The 44 yard touchdown pass put the tanks back in the lead 12-7 after a failed two point conversion. Just two minutes later, Dale Swords punched the ball in on a four yard touchdown run, and after a Markel Cain two point conversion, the Tanks very quickly had a 20-7 lead over the Dukes.
The Dukes would bring the game back to within one score after an eleven yard touchdown pass and the game’s second blocked extra point brought the score to 20-13 in the middle of the third quarter. The comeback threat posed by the Dukes wouldn’t last for very long, however, as Job Swords threw for his third touchdown of the game early in the fourth quarter. Swords’ third touchdown was a thirty yard pass to Julian Lowe, and after another successfully two point conversion, this time a pass from Swords to tight end Dion McKinley, the Tanks extended their lead to 28-13.
The Tanks would never look back in their road victory, punching their ticket to Indianapolis to face the Marion County Crusaders in the BCFL title game. The Crusaders, who only loss on the season was a road defeat at the hands of the Tanks 7-6 early in the season, are the number one seed in this year’s BCFL playoffs. The championship game will be Saturday August 18th at 7 p.m. at Greenwood High School in Indianapolis. Anyone interested in following the game can watch the Tanks Facebook Live stream with coverage beginning at 6:30 p.m.
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter at @JacobSmithPDT