The Gallia Academy Blue Devils running game wore down the Portsmouth Trojans Friday night in route to a 34-7 victory at Trojan Coliseum.
Both teams would fight for every yard in the first quarter as neither defense gave an inch. The Blue Devils’ defense would look to bottle up Trojan standout running back Talyn Parker in the early going, while the Portsmouth defense would try to contain Blue Devils quarterback Justin McClelland.
The Trojans defense would force an early punt by Gallia Academy, but the Blue Devils would answer right back however as they stopped the Trojans on a 4th and short attempt. Despite a 20 yard run halfway through the first quarter, the Blue Devils defense would do a great job stopping Parker throughout the game. Blue Devils coach Alex Penrod was happy with his defense’s execution on the night. “When you watch film, everyone’s game plan is going to be centered around stopping #1 (Parker). Our guys executed that game plan and took care of their jobs and that’s why we were successful tonight.”
Parker couldn’t get near the endzone and only manage to gain a total of 49 yards heading in the second half. Overall, Parker would only rush for 73 yards on the night. The score remained tied at 0-0 at the end of the first quarter.
McClelland and the Blue Devils’ offense would begin to get rolling in the second quarter as they drove the ball down the field on their opening possession of the period. The Blue Devil’s running game began to wear down the Trojans defense as they pounded the ball between the tackles. Gallia Academy senior Boo Pullins would lead the rushing attack for his team as he rushed for 46 yards on the ground in the first half and for 102 yards total for the game.
Running back James Armstrong would finally break through for the Blue Devils as he ran the ball in from three yards out to score the first points of the game and give his team the lead 6-0 after a missed XP. Gallia Academy would score again in the second quarter after Jacob Campbell punched the ball in the end zone from seven yards out. The Blue Devils would convert the two point conversion attempt to extend their lead to 14-0.
McClelland would also have a great first half both through the air and on the ground, gaining 72 yard on the ground and throwing for 80 yards. McClelland’s lone TD pass to James Armstrong would extend the Gallia Academy lead 20-0 to end the first half.
Portsmouth would come out of the second half strong as fullback Tyler McCoy would score a 30 yard TD run to give the Trojans a much needed boost after their sluggish first half and to cut the score to 20-7. However, the Blue Devils would answer right back on a huge kickoff return that set them up in Trojans territory for their first drive of the half.
The Trojans would get a huge break however as Armstrong would fumble the ball into the end zone for a touchback. The Trojans failed to take advantage though as they were forced to punt with eight minutes to go in the third quarter. Portsmouth head coach Bruce Kalb would lament his team’s inability to take advantage of Gallia Academy’s mistakes, “We failed to capitalize on that touchback and we had some miscues here and there that got us in a bad position.”
The score would remain at 20-7 going into the final quarter. Gallia Academy would continue to pound the ball on the ground and with 10:34 to go in the fourth, Campbell would score his second TD of the game. After a successful two point conversion, the Blue Devils would be up 28-7 in the late stages. Campbell would have a huge game on the ground as he rushed for 85 yards and 3 TDs. Gallia Academy would continue to rack up yardage as they looked to run the clock down and put the game away. With 4:52 left in the game Campbell would score his third touchdown of the game to put the Blue Devils up 34-7 with 4:52 left in the game in what would remain the game’s final score.
The Trojans will next head to Coal Grove to face the reigning OVC champs, the Coal Grove Hornets with kickoff slated for 7 p.m. next Friday night.
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT