PEDRO — Speed kills.
So do turnovers at the most inopportune times.
For two-and-a-half quarters on Friday night, the undermanned Rock Hill Redmen matched the heavily-favored and visiting Portsmouth Trojans score for score.
But, like many other teams before them, the Redmen simply couldn’t catch Portsmouth senior Talyn Parker – before they were undone by two lost fumbles which led directly to 14 second-half Portsmouth points.
In the end, Parker – the reigning Division V Southeast District Offensive Player of the Year – poured on 266 rushing yards and all five Trojan touchdowns, and Portsmouth posted a 40-28 Ohio Valley Conference victory.
The matchup marked the OVC opener for both clubs, as Portsmouth stayed undefeated at 4-0, while the Redmen remain winless at 0-4.
In fact, for the Trojans, it is the first time that the tradition-rich program has started a season with four triumphs since 2002.
That is important, per Portsmouth second-year head coach Bruce Kalb.
“I’m very happy for this group of seniors and very proud of the work they have done so far for this 4-0 start. They deserve all the credit as the leaders on this team,” he said. “To do something that hasn’t been done in 17 years is special. We have a lot of football ahead of us of course and a lot of things we need to clean up and work on, but these seniors have led the way and deserve this start to the season that we’ve had.”
The Redmen, which did not attempt a single pass, ran the football 55 times for a massive 302 yards and picked up 24 first downs.
“It’s such a difficult offense to face,” said Kalb. “You really have to be disciplined. Rock Hill has big powerful offensive linemen and their backs run very hard. Here they are picking up four, five, six yards on you every time, but I thought we hung in there and we made some good adjustments in the second half.”
Logan Hankins had 46 first-half yards and a touchdown on seven carries, but sophomore Owen Hankins and junior Hayden Harper carried 20 times apiece, as Hankins amounted 142 yards while Harper hit for 102 and two short touchdown runs (four and two yards).
Parker picked up his 266 yards on 16 carries, as the Trojans rushed 27 times for 331 yards as a team.
Drew Roe, Portsmouth’s sophomore quarterback, completed 11-of-17 passes for 137 yards – with Eric Purdy catching eight of Roe’s passes for 107 yards.
Roe rushed four times for 32 yards, as the Trojans did not punt, did not commit a turnover, and racked up 22 first downs.
The Trojans also converted all five of their extra-point tries – which were all two-point conversions.
“Those (two-point conversions) are plays we’ve been working a lot on in practice. We’ve had some issues in the kicking game, and we knew there are going to be times when we need to go for two. You want to trust and have confidence in going for two points,” said Kalb. “We did a nice job of executing all of those attempts. And in a 12-point final score, 10 points makes a huge difference.”
Meanwhile, Rock Hill went 2-of-4 on two-point attempts, including a pass failure on its second touchdown with 4:16 remaining in the second quarter.
Harper capped an impressive 13-play, 66-yard, seven-minute and three-second scoring march with a four-yard plunge to make it 16-14, as the Redmen actually appeared to convert the subsequent two-point run attempt.
But a chop block penalty was called on the Redmen, negating the conversion and forcing Rock Hill to retry the PAT at the 17-yard-line.
The second attempt failed, but Lutz labeled the fumbling of the second-half kickoff as “the death to us.”
The Redmen received the kick, but it bounced right off the return man –and into the arms of Portsmouth’s Reade Pendleton who recovered right at the 26.
Four plays and a minute and 49 seconds later, Parker cut up for an 11-yard TD run, as Roe completed the two-point conversion pass to Michael Duncan for a 24-14 Trojan advantage.
The Redmen returned to their ground assault, driving 65 yards and nine plays in four-and-a-half minutes, as Harper had his 2-yard run to trim the deficit to 24-20.
The two-point run attempt failed, and Parker burned Rock Hill with his second scoring run of at least 59 yards – a 69-yard scamper at the 4:38 mark of the third quarter.
On the game’s opening play, Parker broke about a half-dozen tackles on a 59-yard dash to the end zone – just 23 seconds into the contest.
“What more can you say about Talyn?” said Kalb. “But the thing is, he just keeps getting better.”
Tyler McCoy made it 32-20 with his two-point conversion run, as the Redmen then moved the ball exactly 34 yards to the Portsmouth 17 before fumbling.
The Trojans recovered, and Roe completed passes to Purdy for 13 and 14 yards, sandwiched around 10 and 18-yard gains by Parker – prior to his 25-yard scoring sprint.
Roe’s two-point pass to Bryce Wallace officially doubled the advantage, which was Portsmouth’s largest of the night.
The Redmen made it 40-28 with a 14-play, 64-yard, seven-minute and 17-second scoring march that picked up five first downs – and was capped off by a Hunter Massie 1-yard QB sneak.
Harper ran in the two-point conversion, as Logan Hankins had Rock Hill’s opening touchdown and two-point run – a 9-yarder to cap an eight-play, 68-yard drive at the 7:25 mark of the opening quarter.
That tied the score at 8-8, as Portsmouth never trailed, going ahead 16-8 just 40 seconds into the second quarter after a five-play, 56-yard drive that spanned a minute and 22 seconds.
Roe ran for 15 yards to move the Trojans into Rock Hill territory, as another Roe completion to Purdy for 40 yards set up Portsmouth 1st-and-goal at the 2.
The Trojans succeeded with Roe throws to Purdy in the flat, and letting Purdy pick up yards after the catch.
“Of course, once Talyn gets going, we want Drew to throw enough and complete enough passes to keep the defense honest,” said Kalb. “We have a lot of playmakers on this team besides Talyn, and it’s important we get them involved and keep them involved if we are going to be successful.”
Parker finished the drive on the next play, and ran in the two-point conversion run.
The Redmen return to OVC action next Friday when they travel to Fairland, while Portsmouth returns to the road – and returns to OVC play – at defending champion Gallia Academy.
The Blue Devils defeated Chesapeake 55-27, thus setting up a matchup of undefeateds at historic Memorial Field in Gallipolis.
* * *
Portsmouth 40, Rock Hill 28
Portsmouth 8 8 16 8 – 40
Rock Hill 8 6 6 8 – 28
P — Talyn Parker, 59-yard run (Talyn Parker run), 11:37, 1st (8-0 P)
RH — Logan Hankins, 9-yard run (Logan Hankins run), 7:25, 1st (8-8 tie)
P — Talyn Parker, 2-yard run (Talyn Parker run), 11:20, 2nd (16-8 P)
RH — Hayden Harper, 4-yard run (pass failed), 4:16, 2nd (16-14 P)
P— Talyn Parker, 11-yard run (Michael Duncan pass from Drew Roe), 10:04, 3rd (24-14 P)
RH — Hayden Harper, 2-yard run (run failed), 5:29, 3rd (24-20 P)
P — Talyn Parker, 69-yard run (Tyler McCoy run), 4:38, 3rd (32-20 P)
P — Talyn Parker, 25-yard run (Bryce Wallace pass from Drew Roe), 10:24, 4th (40-20 P)
RH — Hunter Massie, 1-yard run (Hayden Harper run), 3:03, 4th (40-28 P)
First downs 22 24
Plays from scrimmage 44 55
Rushes-yards 27-331 55-302
Passing yards 137 0
Total yards 468 302
Cmp-Att-Int. 11-17-0 0-0-0
Fumbles-lost 1-0 3-2
Penalties-yards 5-56 4-30
Punts-average 0-0 1-29
RUSHING — Portsmouth: Talyn Parker 16-266 5TD, Drew Roe 4-32, Donavon Carr 2-14, Beau Hammond 1-12, Tyler McCoy 3-8, Team 1-(-1); Rock Hill: Owen Hankins 20-142, Hayden Harper 20-102 2TD, Logan Hankins 7-46 TD, Skylar Kidd 5-19, Hunter Massie 3-(-7) TD
PASSING — Portsmouth: Drew Roe 11-17-0-137; Rock Hill: none
RECEIVING — Portsmouth: Eric Purdy 8-107, Bryce Wallace 2-16, Michael Duncan 1-14; Rock Hill: none
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