PORTSMOUTH — Simply put, the Trojans can now focus for Fairland —after easily dispatching of the Dragons’ archrival.
That’s because, in an Ohio Valley Conference clash in which Portsmouth’s primary goals were to win over winless Chesapeake and remain relatively healthy, the Trojans did just that —scoring 44 of the game’s first 50 points en route to an easy 44-12 triumph on Friday night inside sparkling Trojan Coliseum.
That’s correct, as the Trojans amounted the first 30 points in the first 14 minutes and 53 seconds —then tallied twice more over the next 5:46, with Emily Cheatham chalking up the 44th and final Portsmouth point.
In fact, that was clearly THE highlight of the Trojans’ triumphant night, as the sophomore placekicker Cheatham — who also had the ensuing kickoff — kicked the final extra point, and became the first female in PHS football history to score a single point in a varsity game.
Cheatham received deserved congratulations from her Trojan teammates, and a nice ovation from the Trojan Coliseum crowd when she exited.
Also exiting early, which was a good thing for the Trojans, was their first-team units on offense and defense —as PHS coach Bruce Kalb started second-quarter strategically substituting.
At that point, and midway through the second stanza, Portsmouth led 37-6 —as of course the entire second half was played with the Ohio High School Athletic Association’s running-clock rule, as the Trojans led by at least 30 points for the final 29 minutes and 46 seconds.
It would have likely been even longer, but the first 30-point lead lasted only 13 seconds —as Ben Bragg returned a Portsmouth kickoff 85 yards for the Panthers’ only first-half score.
Chesapeake then scored the second half’s only points two full quarters later —when with eight minutes and 45 seconds remaining, Dilen Caldwell completed a 4th-down-and-6 pass to Levi Blankenship for 44 yards, but against the Trojans’ second-team defense.
Other than that, it was all Portsmouth from opening whistle to final snap —as the Trojans raised their undefeated OVC record to 3-0, part of 6-1 overall.
It is the second straight 10-game regular season in which the Trojans have started 6-1, as Portsmouth —playing at 5-1 Fairland for a colossal contest this week — also won at the Dragons’ lair on the natural grass two years ago (20-12).
At that time, the Trojans had lost once in the OVC at Gallia Academy, but by that Gallia Academy game getting canceled this season due to the Blue Devils’ coronavirus and low numbers situations — Portsmouth faces Fairland as an OVC undefeated, tied with two-time defending champion Ironton (4-0 OVC).
The Dragons, which also had their Gallia Academy game get canceled, are 2-1 in the league —and took Ironton to overtime before falling 20-14.
But, more on the Portsmouth at Fairland affair later on in the week.
Back to the Trojans’ rolling of Chesapeake, as the Panthers —which had have two games get canceled including by Gallia Academy in the OVC opener —remain winless at 0-5 (0-3 OVC).
Chesapeake was shut out 33-0 in its opening two tilts by Minford and Symmes Valley, and with the two touchdowns against the Trojans —have scored just 33 points all season.
Portsmouth put up 44 in Friday’s first half, as its starters started coming out of the game as the second quarter progressed.
That’s because after a quarter-and-a-half, the Trojans had accomplished their goals for the week —without looking ahead.
“We didn’t want to look ahead to Fairland, and so the focus this week was that the most important game on our schedule was Chesapeake. Our seniors have taken that very workman-like attitude week-in and week-out to know what’s directly in front of us is the most important thing. We don’t want to get caught looking ahead. I was really proud of our kids for coming out here tonight and taking care of business and executing,” said Kalb. “We wanted to guard against coming out flat and sluggish, because you look at Chesapeake’s record and the fact they haven’t scored many points. We were really mindful not to look past that. We got the win which was the first thing and our first-team defense held them scoreless, and the second-most important thing was to come out of this healthy. We felt we did that.”
Defensively, the Trojans allowed minus-5 total yards in the first half —all rushing by the run-oriented Panthers.
Chesapeake, for the game, only crossed midfield three times —including twice in the first half but no deeper than the PHS 43-yard-line.
The first of those two resulted in a lost fumble, and the second was a turnover on downs.
Caldwell’s completion to Blankenship for the offensive touchdown was the Panthers’ only other possession past midfield, and the Chesapeake quarterback’s only completion on three attempts.
The Panthers punted three times and lost three of five fumbles, only had six first downs including a mere one in the opening half, and gained only 40 rushing yards on 30 carries.
Bragg had 10 totes for 43 yards, but Chesapeake —counted as a team loss —suffered minus-30 yards rushing, including 26 on a first-quarter punt attempt in which the snap sailed high over Lucas Shepherd’s head.
The Trojans — already leading 7-0 after an eight-play, 62-yard, three-minute and two-second scoring drive which picked up five first downs —made it 14-0 on the first play following, as quarterback Drew Roe threw to Reade Pendleton in the right flat, and Pendleton proceeded to go 15 yards for the score in a matter of seven seconds.
That was with 5:47 to play in the opening period, and gave the Trojans all the points they ultimately needed for the win.
Zach Roth, who made a 29-yard field goal four-and-a-half minutes later for the 17-0 lead, finished 4-of-5 on extra-point attempts —before Cheatham’s chance came for the 44th and final marker.
On the Trojans’ first touchdown, Roe threw to Pendleton in the left flat for a 1-yard score —as Portsmouth’s play-calling against the Panthers picked them apart with the short passing attack.
Roe didn’t play beyond the 37-6 advantage, but before he exited —he completed 18-of-21 passes for 204 yards and four TDs, including a third to Pendleton for 25 yards and one 1-yarder in the flat to Dariyonne Bryant.
Pendleton caught seven passes for 107 yards and a hat trick of paydirt trips, while Bryant made five receptions for 40 yards.
“At our base offense, the way it is set up, it gives Drew Roe a lot of different options. We don’t always have to throw the football down the field,” said Kalb. “We can make teams defend us sideline-to-sideline as well as the running game up front.”
Portsmouth piled up 22 first downs including an opening-half 20, ran one shy of 50 plays from scrimmage, outgained the Panthers by 300 yards (385-84), and didn’t punt once.
The Trojans rushed for 129 yards on 21 tries, and got short second-quarter scoring runs by Beau Hammond (two yards) and Nick Copley (five yards).
For the final two-and-a-half quarters, Tyler Duncan quarterbacked the hosts —and completed 5-of-7 for 52 yards with one interception.
Kalb said it was quality varsity playing time for the Trojans reserves.
“As we look to some of these young guys, they haven’t had the atmosphere of a Friday night football game. It’s a different animal,” said Kalb. “These guys have done really well with an undefeated JV season so far this year, but this was a great opportunity for them to see some varsity quarters. And they went out and executed.”
Although the second-team Trojans gave up a passing touchdown, they didn’t allow a rushing one —as Coal Grove is the only squad, with three, to post a rushing TD against Portsmouth all season.
“These guys continue to step up and play disciplined and tough football,” said Kalb.
And, winning football too —as the Trojans took care of business against Chesapeake, before facing Fairland this week.
* * *
Chesapeake 0 6 0 6 —12
Portsmouth 17 27 0 0 —44
P — Reade Pendleton, 1-yard pass from Drew Roe (Zach Roth kick), 7:25, 1st (7-0 P)
P — Reade Pendleton, 15-yard pass from Drew Roe (Zach Roth kick), 5:47, 1st (14-0 P)
P — Zach Roth, 29-yard field goal, 1:19, 1st (17-0 P)
P— Reade Pendleton, 25-yard pass from Drew Roe (kick failed), 11:20, 2nd (23-0 P)
P — Beau Hammond, 2-yard run (Zach Roth kick), 9:07, 2nd (30-0 P)
C — Ben Bragg, 85-yard kickoff return (kick blocked), 8:54, 2nd (30-6 P)
P — Dariyonne Bryant, 1-yard pass from Drew Roe (Zach Roth kick), 5:46, 2nd (37-6 P)
P — Nick Copley, 5-yard run (Emily Cheatham kick), 1:48, 2nd (44-6 P)
C — Levi Blankenship, 44-yard pass from Dilen Caldwell (pass failed), 8:45, 4th (44-12 P)
First downs 6 22
Scrimmage plays 33 49
Rushes-yards 30-40 21-129
Passing yards 44 256
Total yards 84 385
Cmp-Att-Int. 1-3-0 23-28-1
Fumbles-lost 5-3 2-1
Penalties-yards 5-40 11-84
Punts-Ave 3-31 0-0
RUSHING —Chesapeake: Ben Bragg 10-43, Marcus Burnside 9-15, Levi Blankenship 4-14, Camron Shockley 1-2, Dilen Caldwell 3-(-4), Team 3-(-30); Portsmouth: Beau Hammond 3-38 TD, Nick Copley 6-27 TD, Tyler Duncan 2-19, Drew Roe 3-15, J.T. Williams 5-13, Amare Johnson 1-9, Dylan Sanderlin 1-8
PASSING — Chesapeake: Dilen Caldwell 1-3-0-44 TD; Portsmouth: Drew Roe 18-21-0-204 4TD, Tyler Duncan 5-7-1-52
RECEIVING— Chesapeake: Levi Blankenship 1-44 TD; Portsmouth: Reade Pendleton 7-107 3TD, Dariyonne Bryant 5-40 TD, Jayden Duncan 3-35, Noah Livingston 2-34, Ethan Scott 2-18, Beau Hammond 2-13, Amare Johnson 1-9, Chase Heiland 1-0
Reach Paul Boggs at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1926, by email at email@example.com, or on Twitter @paulboggssports © 2021 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved