SOUTH POINT — After a humbling loss in its first game against defending conference champion Ironton, Portsmouth and head coach Bruce Kalb got a more realistic view of his Trojans’ football team Friday in an Ohio Valley Conference win over South Point.
In its first road game of the year, Kalb’s team showed it is an aerial threat — with quarterback Drew Roe throwing for 182 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Trojans to a 31-14 win over the Pointers at Alumni Stadium.
Still, he said, there’s much for the team to work on before its next contest next Friday against Fairland.
“We’re young, we’re inexperienced, so we wanted to focus on making sure we’re doing the little things right,” said the third-year coach. “That was our game plan all week.”
Offensively, Portsmouth (1-1 overall, 1-1 OVC) moved the ball easily against South Point for much of the first half, but struggled in the second — and its defensive lapses allowed the Pointers to keep the game close.
Additionally, both teams combined for 181 penalty yards with 76 of those belonging to the Trojans.
However, there were moments when Portsmouth made big plays that helped it put South Point (0-2, 0-2 OVC) away.
While the Pointers opened the game with a five-play, four minute, 11-second drive that gave it an early 7-0 lead, Portsmouth answered with a seven-play drive that Roe finished with his first touchdown pass.
On that drive, Roe was 5-for-5 passing for 39 yards — and found halfback Reade Pendleton for a 5-yard score that, with the extra point, tied the game.
Following a 27-yard field goal by Joel Bowling, Portsmouth had a 10-7 lead at the 8:44 mark of the second quarter.
Then, on its next drive while facing a third-and-goal from the 3-yard-line, Roe connected with Chris Duff on the first of two TDs the pair would have in the game — stretching Portsmouth’s lead to 17-7 with 5:39 left before halftime.
While South Point would answer that drive with a score, Roe found Duff alone in the Pointers’ defensive backfield for a 55-yard passing score — putting the Trojans in front 24-14 with 2:39 left in the half.
Neither offense would score again for the rest of the game.
On the opening possession of the third quarter, Roe was intercepted at midfield — setting up the home team with the ball.
The Trojans then went three-and-out on its next drive, and botched the punt attempt that set up the Pointers in Portsmouth territory.
The third drive of the second half ended with Roe’s second interception.
Fortune changed for the Trojans, though, when Kalb chose to have Bowling attempt a 41-yard field goal that — while short — put South Point at its own 21-yard line.
The Pointers needed six plays to make it to the 50-yard-line, where quarterback Malik Pegram tossed the first of his two interceptions.
On the receiving end was Dariyonne Bryant, who snared the pass and raced 55-yards for the touchdown that would clinch the game for the visitors.
Following the win, Roe reflected on the offense’s second-half struggles.
“I think I can always perform better, but I think I just lost my rhythm,” said Roe, the junior signal-caller. “In the first half, I was making my reads and not worrying so much about making mistakes. When I started worrying about mistakes was when I started making them.”
As the passing game became more inconsistent, Kalb turned to the running game.
Although Pendleton saw success on Portsmouth’s first drive, Amare Johnson got the bulk of the carries late in the contest — finishing with 33 yards on six touches.
“I didn’t perform as well as I could have,” said Johnson, also a junior. “In the second half, I got my mind back into how I could make some plays. I just did what I had to do.”
After a sluggish first half, Johnson averaged seven yards per carry in the second — and set Portsmouth up for first-down conversions that helped it wind the clock.
Johnson and Roe said the team will turn its focus on working harder in practices this week for the next game on Friday at 7 p.m. versus Fairland at home.
“Next week we’re looking for win number two,” Roe said.
Portsmouth – 7 17 0 7 – 31
South Point – 7 7 0 0 – 14
SP – Alex Lambert, 15-yard pass from Malik Pegram (Justin Collins kick good), 7:37 1Q (7-0 SP)
P – Reade Pendleton, 5-yard pass from Drew Roe (Joe Bowling kick good), 3:42 1Q (7-7 tie)
P – Joe Bowling 27-yard field goal, 8:44 2Q (10-7 P)
P – Chris Duff, 3-yard pass from Drew Roe (Joe Bowling kick good), 5:39 2Q (17-7 P)
SP – Darryl Taylor, 51-yard pass from Malik Pegram (Justin Collins kick good), 3:42 2Q (17-14 P)
P – Chris Duff, 55-yard pass from Drew Roe (Joel Bowling kick good), 2:39 2Q (24-14 P)
P – Dariyonne Bryant, 55-yard interception return (Joel Bowling kick good), 6:02 4Q (31-14 P)
First Downs | 13 9
Yards (Rushing-Passing) | 290 (85-205) 276 (47-229)
Plays | 29 36
Turnovers | 2 2
Time of Possession | 20:43 26:26
Penalties | 11 for 75 yards 10 for 106 yards
Rushing – Portsmouth: Reade Pendleton 2-34, Alberto Poxes 1-2, Amare Johnson 6-33, Drew Roe 2-16; South Point: Maddox McCallister 6-14, Walker Clay 1-5, Malik Pegram 9-31, Nakyan Turner 3-4, Darryl Taylor 1-(-3), T.J. Wong 3-4, Team 2-(-8).
Passing – Portsmouth: Drew Roe 17-31 182 yards 3TDs, 2INTs; South Point: Malik Pegram 12-20 169 yards 2TDs, 2INTs
Receiving – Portsmouth: Dariyonne Bryant 5-44, Amare Johnson 3-23, Reade Pendleton 4-25 TD, Chris Duff 3-69 2TDs; South Point: Cody Brandt 3-73, Alex Lambert 2-26 TD, Nakyan Turner 1-(-5), Darryl Taylor 4-107 TD, Maddox McCallister 1-28.
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