PDT Sports Writer
WEST PORTSMOUTH — Celebrating Senior Night at Portsmouth West High School, the West Senators defeated the Fairland Dragons 41-6. The Senators (4-5) took advantage of a strong running game, and several Dragon turnovers to give Fairland (0-9) its ninth consecutive loss this season.
West racked up three touchdowns in each half of the game, while only allowing one scoring drive by Fairland.
“It was a great way to send our seniors out on Senior Night,” said West Head Football Coach Ben Johnson. “We got rolling there pretty well in the first half, and just kept it going into the second half. It was just a fun night.”
The Senators capitalized on three Fairland interceptions on the night, and prevented the Dragons from ever really being a threat in the game.
“I’m very proud of our defensive secondary,” said Johnson. “We struggled with that a little bit this year, so it was nice to see some of those guys step up and make some plays.”
Johnson said it was a nice ending for the final home game of the 2015 season.
“You always want to go out with a bang, and play your best, and make memories,” said Johnson. “Every game is an opportunity to make some lifetime memories, and I think we made some tonight.”
The game’s opening drive saw the Senators run 12 plays before running into a fourth down situation on the Dragons 13-yard line. Needing just shy of two yards to pick up the first down, West opted to forgo a punt and try for the first down. Job Swords ran straight up the middle and gained only one yard, just shy of what was needed for the first.
Fairland forced the turnover on downs, and took possession on their own 13-yard line with 5:59 remaining in the first quarter.
The Senators’ defense would force the Dragons to a three-and-out, forcing Fairland to punt.
On the ensuing drive, West put together an eight play, 46-yard scoring drive, which featured a Job Swords 2-yard scoring run. After a successful point after attempt, the Portsmouth West Senators led the Fairland Dragons 7-0 with 0:43 remaining in the first quarter.
The West defense smothered Fairland quarterback Joel Lambiotte with sack for a loss of 5-yards. The Dragons were forced to punt after facing a fourth and long situation.
Portsmouth West put together another long drive, which consisted of 10 plays for 58-yards. The scoring play came from a beautiful 3-yard pass from Douthat to Adam Baker, who was open deep in the endzone. The Senators led the Dragons 14-0 with 5:32 remaining in the half, after a successful point after attempt.
Senators’ kicker T.J. Hoggard dropped his kickoff inside the Fairland 5-yard line, which was finally downed on the 2-yard line. The Dragons were penalized for illegal touching, which resulted in a loss of a down, and put them on their own 1-yard line.
Facing a third and long situation on their own 1-yard line, Lambiotte’s pass attempt was intercepted by Portsmouth West Senators’ linebacker Braedon Oliver advancing the ball to the line of scrimmage.
The Senators would waste no time in scoring again, as Swords would score on a 1-yard run after a Fairland offsides penalty. Douthat’s 2-point conversion pass attempt fell short of its target, which gave West a 20-0 lead over the Dragons with only 3:59 remaining in the half.
The Fairland Dragons struck back after an exciting hook-and-ladder play which found the Dragons’ Keedrick Cunningham with the ball, completing a 74-yard play. Lined up on West’s 1-yard line, Sydney Tucker would score on a 1-yard touchdown run. After a failed 2-pt conversion attempt, the Dragons trailed the Senators 20-6 with 0:32 left in the half.
The second half didn’t start off on a good note for the Dragons. After two consecutive false starts on Fairland, quarterback Joel Lambiotte threw his second interception of the evening, giving the Senators the ball on the Fairland 20-yard line.
Six play and 20 yards later, the Senators added to their lead, as Wesley Bailey ran in a 2-yard run for a Portsmouth West touchdown. After a successful point after attempt, the Senators led the Dragons 27-6 with 7:52 remaining in the third quarter.
The Dragon offense continued to struggle against a dominating Senator defense. Following an incomplete pass on first down, Lambiotte got hit hard by Sam Kegley of the Senators for a sack with a loss of eight yards. The Dragons were then hit with a delay of game penalty followed by short pass completion and were forced to punt the ball away.
Job Swords ran an excellent 34-yard punt return, which nearly got the ball back to the line of scrimmage, giving Portsmouth West an excellent field advantage.
Three runs later, the Senators scored yet again on the Dragons when Wesley Robinson powered through the Dragon defense for a 9-yard touchdown run. The Senators led the Dragons 34-6 after a successful point after.
On the next drive, the Dragons found a way to gain a few yards moving the ball and the chains into Senator territory. However, Fairland would turn the ball over again, as Lambiotte threw his third interception of the evening, when Job Swords picked him off on the Portsmouth West 8-yard line.
Portsmouth West would run a 12 play 92-yard drive to score again on the Dragons after a 7-yard touchdown run by Chase Lenegar, giving the Senators a 41-6 lead over Fairland.
Faced with a running clock and less than eight minutes left in the game, Fairland turned the ball over on downs, and subsequently allowing Portsmouth West to run out the clock and claim their matchup against the Dragons.
The West Senators will travel to Wheelersburg High School to face the Pirates in a Week 10 Southern Ohio Conference (SOC) Division II showdown. The matchup is scheduled for Friday, October 30th, and has a scheduled 7 p.m. kickoff.
West – J. Swords 2-yd run (PAT good) (0:43)
West – B. Douthat 3-yd pass to A. Baker (PAT good) (5:32)
West – J. Swords 1-yd run (2-pt conversion no good, Douthat incomplete) (3:59)
Fairland – S. Tucker 1-yd run (2-pt conversion no good, Lambiotte incomplete) (0:29)
West – W. Bailey 2-yd run (PAT good) (7:52)
West – W. Robinson 9-yd run (PAT good) (4:40)
West – C. Lenegar 7-yd run (PAT good (7:13)