WEST PORTSMOUTH — Underclassmen powered Portsmouth West on Saturday to a 34-14 win over visiting Chesapeake, advancing the Senators in the OHSAA Division V, Region 19 state football playoffs at ‘The Rock’.
Quarterback Mitchell Irwin and running back Ryan Sissel, both sophomores, along with freshman Jeffery Bishop accounted for all five scores for the No. 14-seeded Senators (4-3).
Sissel, a fullback pressed to carry more of the workload due to injuries, scored two touchdowns and finished the game with a team-high 87 yards on 10 carries.
Bishop rushed for a score and hauled in a pass from Irwin for two touchdowns of his own.
Sissel, however, didn’t carry the ball until the second quarter — and the workload he received came as a bit of a surprise.
“You’ve always got to be ready,” Sissel said, after the win. “You work all week in practice, you always anticipate (getting touches) in your mind.”
West head coach Ben Johnson used sophomore back Brandon Potter for 18 carries, and he found success early against No. 19 Chesapeake (2-5), but the Senators needed another ballcarrier to step up when the Panthers began limiting his yardage.
Sissel scored the first of his touchdowns in the second quarter with West up 14-0.
His four-yard run extended the Senators’ lead and set the halftime score at 20-0 after a blocked extra point.
Sissel was rewarded with more touches in the second half.
“You know, normally he is the lead blocker, so he doesn’t always get a lot of carries, but we had to do that a little bit by committee tonight,” Johnson said.
Johnson relayed that senior running back Hunter Brown was out of the game because of an injury.
With Potter pulling more duty in his absence, Sissel also got the chance to carry some of the load.
“Ryan is a guy that just works really hard and just gives you everything he’s got, every single play, so it was fun to see him get in there and get those carries,” Johnson said.
Sissel’s second score of the night came after Chesapeake cut the lead to 20-7.
The 6-yard run with 6:36 to play in the game sealed the victory for West.
The Senators’ defense was on its game as well.
Chesapeake was held to 41 yards of total offense in the first half, 20 yards of which came on a run by quarterback Donald Richendollar that ended the first half.
Richendollar tossed a 9-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter to end the Senators’ shutout bid, and the senior added a 2-yard scoring run of his own that made the score 27-14.
The Panthers’ top offensive threat, though, was limited to 88 yards rushing on 14 carries and just 79 yards passing.
West forced a pair of Richendollar turnovers — a lost fumble and an interception from an errant pass.
The Senators converted each of those mistakes into touchdowns.
Additionally, West took advantage of poor tackling by Chesapeake.
“If we could’ve got them on the ground, we would have been right there,” Panthers head coach Todd Knipp said. “We struggled all year to put two halves together.”
Under Ohio rules, every team was given the option to schedule as many as four games beyond the six regular-season contests allotted.
Knipp said getting three more games for a 10-game schedule wasn’t economical.
West’s win over the No. 19-seed Panthers advanced it to a matchup on Saturday with No. 3-seed Wheelersburg, which got a bye in the first round.
That game will be played at the Pirates’ Ed Miller Stadium with a 7 p.m. kickoff time.
Wheelersburg defeated West 28-0 on Oct. 2 — part of the Southern Ohio Conference Division II slate.
Chesapeake – 0 0 7 7 – 14
Ports. West – 14 6 0 14 – 34
W — Jeffery Bishop, 18-yard pass from Mitchell Irwin (Caleb Hazelbaker kick), 7:30 1Q (7-0 W)
W — Jeffery Bishop, 26-yard run (Caleb Hazelbaker kick), 3:07 1Q (14-0 W)
W — Ryan Sissel, 4-yard run (kick blocked), :15 2Q (20-0 W)
C — Thomas Sentz, 9-yard pass from Donald Richendollar (Lucas Shepherd kick), 2:05 3Q (20-7 W)
W — Ryan Sissel, 6-yard run (Caleb Hazelbaker kick), 6:36 4Q (27-7 W)
C — Donald Richendollar, 2-yard run (Lucas Shepherd kick), 3:25 4Q (27-14 W)
W– Mitchell Irwin, 1-yard run (Caleb Hazelbaker kick), :58 4Q (34-14 W)
First Downs 13 21
Yards (Rushing-Passing) 182 (133-79) 305 (159-146)
Plays 38 58
Turnovers 2 0
Time of Possession 17:06 30:54
Penalties 4 for 47 yards 2 for 25 yards
RUSHING – Chesapeake: Zach Stepp 3-17, Marcus Burnside 1-0, Dilen Caldwell 7-23, Levi Best 1-2, Jacob McCloud 2-3, Donald Richendollar 14-88 TD; Portsmouth West: Mitchell Irwin 6-(-21) TD, Brandon Potter 18-57, Jeffery Bishop 7-36 TD, Ryan Sissel 10-87 2 TDs
PASSING – Chesapeake: Donald Richendollar 5/10 79 yards TD INT; Portsmouth West: Mitchell Irwin 10/17 146 yards TD
RECEIVING – Chesapeake: Dilen Caldwell 1-38, Nick Ferguson 1-17, Thomas Sentz 1-2 TD, Justice Hutchinson 1-17; Portsmouth West: Luke Bradford 4-70, Jeffery Bishop 3-53 TD, Brandon Potter 1-9, Ryan Sissel 1-5, Andrew Jones 1-10
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