It was a short, wet trip to Fairmont, W. Va. for the Warriors.
In a game that was played in a thunderstorm with a running clock, the Portsmouth Warriors trounced the Northern Bulldogs 41-0 on Saturday evening.
“Our guys took care of what they needed to take care of,” Warriors head coach Jamie Rice said. “The intensity was really good.”
Playing without two of their leading rushers in Luke Brown and Jontez Jones, the Warriors went to the air early in the game. Quarterback Justin Lunsford threw two touchdown passes in the first quarter: A 36-yarder to Santonio Wilson, and a 28-yarder to Mike Dawkins. Dawkins also added a 64-yard score in the fourth quarter on a pass from backup quarterback Charlie Thompson.
Lunsford only completed four of his 13 passes, but still managed to rack up 141 yards. Rice said that Lunsford looked sharp, but slick football led to a number of dropped passes.
“(The Bulldogs) really stacked the box to stop the run,” he said. “It was a good time to throw, but it was a terrible time to throw.”
With thunder booming overhead and the Warriors already holding a substantial lead, the Bulldogs elected to use a running clock for the majority of the game. The game lasted just two hours and fifteen minutes, but that didn’t stop the defense from putting on a truly dominant performance.
The Portsmouth defense limited the Bulldogs (0-5) to -25 rushing yards and six passing yards throughout the game. In just 25 snaps, the Warriors defense forced six turnovers, including a 68-yard pick six by Nate Fannin in the closing seconds of the first half.
Jon Hairston, Ant McDaniel and Taiwan Hart led the way for the Portsmouth defense with five tackles apiece. Hairston added two sacks, and McDaniel came up with a sack and a fumble recovery.
Though the Warriors were without their leading rushers, they still managed to rack up 175 yards on the ground. Santanio Wilson and Charles Johnson each came up with long touchdown runs in the third quarter.
“They could be classified as back-up players, but they’re really not,” Rice said. “Our second- and third-string guys would probably start on most other teams in the league. It’s not like we’re putting out a bunch of guys that don’t really know what they’re doing.”
With the win, the Warriors improved to 6-0 on the season and remained atop both the Blue Collar Football League standings. They will also likely retain the top spot in the AA East National Poll. Portsmouth is back in action on Saturday, when they host cross-town rival Southern Ohio Spartans at Spartan Stadium.
Reach Alex Hider at 740-353-3101 ext. 1931 or on Twitter @PDTSportsWriters