PORTSMOUTH — Sometimes, all it takes is one — or one three times.
And, while it wasn’t the shootout of last year’s matchup, nor did Portsmouth’s Talyn Parker put up quite the eye-popping and jaw-dropping rushing statistics this time, it wasn’t too far behind.
That’s because Parker — the reigning Southeast District Division V Offensive Player of the Year and now Portsmouth’s all-time career rushing leader — scored on three separate one-play possessions on Friday night, en route to leading the Trojans to a 34-20 victory over visiting Chesapeake inside Trojan Coliseum in Portsmouth.
Parker scored on single-play possessions of 60 (10 seconds), 59 (11 seconds) and 22 yards (six seconds) that combined for 27 seconds — and amassed a massive 288 yards on 17 carries.
Last season, in Portsmouth’s 55-39 high-scoring triumph at Chesapeake, Parker went off for an unreal 381 yards and four scores on 30 attempts.
So while his numbers aren’t as outrageous as last year’s against the Panthers, he still burnt them for three one-play scores that added up to 18 points — and when the game was still within reach.
In interviews both before and afterwards on Friday night, the two head coaches basically knew what the other’s general gameplan was.
Chesapeake planned to ball-control the speedy and athletic Trojans and consume the clock, limiting Parker to as much defensive play as possible.
Of course, Portsmouth always wants Parker to touch the football, for he can break off an explosive play on any given snap.
While the Panthers had some success with their grind-it-out run-oriented wing-T style, Parker needed just one play — or actually three — to demonstrate why he such a threat on any.
“It just shows you the type of talent the young man (Talyn) has. You give him a crease and he takes it the distance,” said Portsmouth coach Bruce Kalb. “He finds that hole, hits it and explodes through it. And he is so good in breaking tackles.”
“He (Parker) is a great running back and we talked all week about getting him on the ground. If we tackled him, got him on the ground and made them drive the ball, we were hoping we could force them into mistakes,” said Chesapeake coach Todd Knipp. “We scored on that first drive, then unfortunately, he answers in one play by going for 60 yards. We had to make tackles in the open field to get Parker down, and we didn’t.”
Indeed, the Trojans erased a 7-0 deficit, and scored 20 consecutive second-half points to put the contest on ice midway through the final quarter.
With the win, Portsmouth raised its record to 6-1 and 3-1 in the OVC, while Chesapeake fell to under .500 to 3-4 — and are eliminated from championship contention in the league at 1-3.
Chesapeake also essentially aided Portsmouth in the final 30 minutes — and all the while when the Panthers were on the Trojans’ side of midfield.
“We blew some opportunities to score. We fumbled twice, had two turnovers on downs, had a touchdown called back,” said Knipp. “The things that we needed to do to win this football game, we were unable to finish up and follow through on. We’re shooting ourselves in the foot repeatedly with turnovers.”
The Panthers lost two fumbles, including following a 15-play, 84-yard drive that devoured five-and-a-half minutes off the second-quarter clock — and after the Panthers were inside the 5-yard-line with 29 seconds to play in the first half.
At that point, because Chesapeake scored nine minutes earlier to tie it at 14-14 with Randy Wilson’s second of two extra-point kicks, a touchdown on that march would have put the Panthers in front.
“That was a key moment in the game — fumbling on the 2-yard-line with half-a-minute left in the half,” said Knipp. “We could have gone into half with a 21-14 lead, and that could have really changed things.”
“That was a big goal-line stand for the second week in a row,” he said. “I was really proud of our defense for stiffening up there and keeping them out of the end zone. We carried that momentum over into the second half.”
With the Panthers’ offensive style, and the Trojans’ quick-strike ability, Chesapeake actually ran 30 more plays from scrimmage (69-39), as Portsmouth only outgained the Panthers on the ground by 10 yards (361-351).
Chesapeake also held a 22-15 advantage in first downs, as the Panthers’ plays in the first half outnumbered Portsmouth’s by 25 (40-15).
“When you score so quick like we can and did tonight, your defense is right back out on the field. Then the style of offense Chesapeake runs, they are going to take three (yards), four, five, six, seven yards every time. But we challenged our defense at halftime that they had to get off the field,” said Kalb. “They have to make those hits and pop that ball loose. We needed our defense tonight to make those hits, be in position, make them earn everything that they get. Our defense was on the field a lot in the first half — I think we only had three possessions.”
In the second half, Chesapeake turned the ball over on downs twice, including inside the red zone at the 19 on the second-to-last play of the third quarter.
On the opening play of that drive, Kamren Harless — who amounted 166 yards on 26 carries and scored the game-tying touchdown in the second period on a 28-yard sprint — had a 23-yard touchdown run called back due to a holding penalty.
Before Parker’s final touchdown from 22 yards with five minutes and 39 seconds remaining, the Trojans blocked a Panther punt following a three-and-out possession.
Trailing 34-14 with 1:52 to play, Chesapeake finally scored again on a slippery 17-yard run by quarterback Donald Richendollar — in which he broke free from what seemed to be several sure Trojan tackles.
Portsmouth power fullback Tyler McCoy, who rushed three times on its final drive including for 30 yards from midfield to the red zone, recovered the onside kick following that TD to seal the win.
“We almost completely shut them out in the second half,” said Kalb. “This was actually one of the more complete games we’ve played — both halves defensively, offensively and special teams. Everybody wants to point to Talyn Parker and what he does, but I can’t praise our other seniors enough for picking up where last year’s seniors left off.”
Will Todd, who added 95 yards on 17 totes, caught Richendollar’s only completion on three second-half attempts for 23 yards — which actually converted 4th-down-and-7 from the Portsmouth 40 and kept the final scoring drive alive.
The Panthers posted 351 rushing yards on 66 attempts — as Richendollar (30 yards) and Logan Walsh (48 yards) carried nine times apiece.
Chesapeake’s opening possession was what it hoped to demonstrate all night — a well-executed dozen-play, 74-yard, five-minute march that featured four separate backs all carrying the ball.
Walsh went in from three yards out at the 6:52 mark, and Wilson’s extra point gave the Purple its only advantage.
That lead lasted just 10 seconds, as Parker burst up the middle and almost untouched en route to his 60-yard scamper.
Joel Bowling made the first of his four extra-point kicks to tie it at 7-7, and the Trojans never trailed again — after forcing Chesapeake into a three-and-out and punt.
Portsmouth quarterback Drew Roe, who completed seven of 10 passes for 66 yards, threw for a pair of touchdowns to give the Trojans a pair of seven-point cushions (14-7 and 21-14).
With 1:50 left in the first quarter, and after Parker picked up 36 yards in four consecutive carries to the Chesapeake 19, Roe completed a hitch pass to Bryce Wallace, who made the catch at the 10 and broke a tackle to score.
The Trojans then broke the 14-14 tie on the opening second-half series, as Roe hit Eric Purdy with a seven-yard strike at the 7:45 mark — aided by an earlier pass to Purdy for 13 yards and a Parker pickup of 36 to the Panther 13.
Purdy actually jumped and high-pointed the reception in front of Walsh, and took a hard hit from him as he hit the ground — but held onto the ball.
That capped a quick six-play, 78-yard four-minute move, as the weapons of Purdy (three receptions for 25 yards), Wallace (two receptions for 22 yards) and Michael Duncan (three receptions for 19 yards) do so much to take pressure off of Parker.
“With Drew Roe’s ability to get the ball out to those guys, and now the defense has to know where they are and cover them, that opens up even more lanes for Talyn to run in. It becomes pick your poison,” said Kalb. “Do you stack the box and stop Talyn Parker, or do you widen your defense out and allow Talyn the chance to do what he does best?”
And, what Parker did best on Friday night was, as usual, break the big one — three times.
Portsmouth returns to OVC action next week when it travels to Fairland.
* * *
Chesapeake 7 7 0 6 — 20
Portsmouth 14 0 13 7 — 34
C— Will Todd, 3-yard run (Randy Wilson kick), 6:52, 1st (7-0 C)
P —Talyn Parker, 60-yard run (Joel Bowling kick), 6:34, 1st (7-7 tie)
P — Bryce Wallace, 19-yard pass from Drew Roe (Joel Bowling kick), 1:50, 1st (14-7 P)
C — Kamren Harless, 28-yard run (Randy Wilson kick), 9:31, 2nd (14-14 tie)
P — Eric Purdy, 7-yard pass from Drew Roe (Joel Bowling kick), 7:45, 3rd (21-14 P)
P — Talyn Parker, 59-yard run (kick failed), 3:50, 3rd (27-14 P)
P —Talyn Parker, 22-yard run (Joel Bowling kick), 5:39, 4th (34-14 P)
C — Donald Richendollar, 17-yard run (kick failed), 1:52, 4th (34-20 P)
First Downs 22 15
Scrimmage Plays 69 39
Rushes-Yards 66-351 29-361
Passing Yards 23 66
Total Yards 374 427
Cmp-Att-Int 1-3-0 7-10-1
Fumbles-Lost 2-2 2-1
Penalties-Yards 7-58 8-61
Punts-Average 2-19 1-44
RUSHING —Chesapeake: Kamren Harless 26-166 TD, Will Todd 17-95 TD, Logan Walsh 9-48, Donald Richendollar 9-30 TD, Carson Nida 3-11, Randy Wilson 1-1, Team 1-0; Portsmouth: Talyn Parker 17-288 3TD, Drew Roe 8-25, Tyler McCoy 4-48
PASSING — Chesapeake: Donald Richendollar 1-3-0-23; Portsmouth: Drew Roe 7-10-1 66 2TD
RECEIVING — Chesapeake: Will Todd 1-23; Portsmouth: Eric Purdy 3-25 TD, Bryce Wallace 2-22 TD, Michael Duncan 2-19
Reach Paul Boggs at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1926, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @BoggsSports © 2019 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved