PORTSMOUTH — Thursday night’s regular-season football contest between Notre Dame and Huntington was a game of runs, with the host Titans making the first and last runs in securing a season-ending win.
Hosting its season finale at the historic Spartan Stadium in Portsmouth, Notre Dame entered its game against the Huntsmen coming off a convincing 38-13 road win over Fairfield Christian Academy — just five days prior on Saturday (Oct. 24).
With its 41-21 win on Thursday, Notre Dame concludes its 2020 campaign at 3-4 — outscoring its opponents a combined 114-34 in each of the three wins.
“Total team effort from our guys,” Titans coach Bob Ashley said following the win. “Especially with the quick turnaround this week. We had a nice solid week of practice, I think the rain kind of equalized both teams. I’m proud of our seniors in the way they stepped up and led us through to the win.”
Caleb Nichols scored on a one-yard touchdown run with 2:30 left in the first half to put the Titans ahead 22-0 following Reagan Lester’s made point-after.
Touchdown runs by senior Logan Emnett and Nichols preceded Nichols’ late first-half score, as Notre Dame took a three-score advantage nearing the halftime break.
After a penalty on the ensuing kickoff, Huntington capitalized off its short field — when Noah Disantis scored from one-yard out to cut the Titans’ lead to 22-7 at the half.
Out of the halftime on their ensuing drive, Huntsmen quarterback Nick Marion found Disantis for an eight-yard touchdown pass.
Marion also connected with Disantis on the two-point try, cutting Notre Dame’s lead to 22-15 with 6:28 left in the third.
Huntington then forced a three-and-out, and scored its final touchdown on the next drive.
Marion found Alan Smith for a three-yard touchdown on a first-and-goal play, but the Huntington kicker missed the point-after that would have tied the game.
Instead, Notre Dame held on to a one-point lead — and simply never looked back.
On the first play of the following drive, Emnett broke away for a 62-yard touchdown run, putting the Titans back ahead by eight at 29-21 with two minutes left in the third.
Nichols then found sophomore Dylan Seison for an 11-yard touchdown pass with 5:14 left in the fourth quarter, pushing the Titans ahead 35-21 after a missed extra point.
For good measure, Emnett broke away from Huntsmen defenders for a 34-yard touchdown run with 1:21 left in the game — giving the Titans the 41-21 win.
One-possession defeats at the hands of larger-division schools Northwest (10-6) and Symmes Valley (24-16) in Southern Ohio Conference Division I play nearly positioned the Titans as a four-win team entering their season finale, but also helped pave the way for a strong finish to their 2020 campaign — with wins over Fairfield Christian and Huntington.
Notre Dame’s seven-man senior class consisting of Caleb Nichols, Logan Emnett, Jake McGuire, Jake Cole, Chris Schmidt, Ethan Kammer and Austin Vaughters have certainly bled the blue and gold during their time in a Titan uniform.
Earning early playing time upon reaching the varsity level, each of the Titans’ seven seniors helped contribute to making their final year their most competitive and impressive to date.
“I can’t say enough about our seniors and what they’ve been through in their careers,” Ashley said. “They took a huge step from last year to this, and we’re a couple plays away from getting wins against bigger schools who competed for our league’s title. Can’t say enough about the leadership of my seniors.”
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT © 2020 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved