ROME TOWNSHIP — Despite not having a consistent running attack, Portsmouth’s 15-14 loss to Fairland at Jim Mayo Memorial Stadium truly came down to their final play.
The Trojans picked up only eight first downs, were held to negative rushing yards, and scored both of their touchdowns in the final 13-and-a-half minutes of the game.
Yet still, on their final offensive play, a two-point conversion attempt was the deciding factor in who would win or lose in this Ohio Valley Conference thriller.
Dragons’ freshman Kam Kitts knocked down Drew Roe’s heave toward the Portsmouth end zone with just over a minute left — a play that if converted would have given the Trojans their first lead of the game.
A chance to put Portsmouth ahead in the deciding minutes was the main factor in head coach Bruce Kalb’s decision to go for two, he said after a game in which both teams battled conditions and a less than ideal playing surface.
“We knew Fairland is explosive, we felt confident in the call we had dialed up. We practiced a lot, it’s one of those if you get it you look like a genius, if you don’t maybe you shouldn’t have,” Kalb said. “We thought it was the right call to make, unfortunately it ended a little better on their end than ours.”
The two-point try was made possible by Drew Roe’s 19-yard passing touchdown to Dariyonne Bryant — the senior duo’s second touchdown connection of the game.
Bryant got behind the Fairland defense with 1:19 left in the third, racing for a 52-yard touchdown after Roe found him and delivered a ball that only Bryant could catch.
“We’re fortunate to have plenty of weapons and teams can’t take away everything. He (Bryant) started off the year pretty hot and teams started double covering him, even tonight when he was in single there was still coverage there,” Kalb said, of Bryant. “(He) Found ways to get him behind the defense and does what he does: finds way to make great catches, turn on the speed to get where he needs to be.”
Roe connected with Reade Pendleton on the ensuing two-point conversion, tying the contest at 8-all.
On the ensuing kickoff, after Portsmouth had tied the game, Fairland senior Zander Schmidt returned the kick 84 yards for a touchdown.
Alex Bruce’s made point-after put the Dragons back ahead 15-8 — just 13 seconds after Bryant’s score tied the game.
The Trojans’ defense held Fairland to 212 yards of total offense, allowed no points in the second half, and only 11 first downs in their 24:21 time of possession.
“Here we are battling back and forth, we capture the momentum on the pass to Dariyonne. Then it shows the explosive nature of Fairland’s team that he took the distance and I think it did kind of sucked some wind out of our sails,” Kalb said. “Defensively, we stood right back up and made plays. Unfortunately, we didn’t win all three phases of the game in the second half.”
Portsmouth will host South Point on Friday night in their home finale, before traveling to Tanks Memorial Stadium for their week-10 clash with OVC leader Ironton.
“We’ve got to take care of business against South Point; we’ve got to bounce-back, make sure we execute and come out healthy. The big matchup on the road in week 10 and that’s probably going to mean a lot as far as points are concerned, placement in the region, as well as if you’re hosting or traveling in week 11,” Kalb said. “I know that the team will focus on the task at hand and that’s beating South Point.”
Portsmouth: 0 0 8 6 — 14
Fairland: 0 8 7 0 — 15
|Yards (Pass-Rush)||180 (184-(-4))||212 (79-133)|
|Penalties||6 for 40 yards||12 for 94 yards|
|Time of Possession||23:39||24:21|
F — 2-yard run, JD Brumfield (Zion Martin 2-point conversion); 8-0 Fairland 9:56 2Q
P — 52-yard reception, Dariyonne Bryant from Drew Roe (Drew Roe to Reade Pendleton 2-point conversion); 8-8 tie 1:19 3Q
F — 84-yard kick-off return, Zander Schmidt (Alex Bruce PAT good); 15-8 Fairland 1:06 3Q
P — 19-yard reception, Dariyonne Bryant from Drew Roe (2-point try failed); 15-14 Fairland 1:12 4Q
Passing: Drew Roe (P): 20-30 184 yards 2TD; Peyton Jackson (F) 4-13 79 yards 2INT, Zander Schmidt (F) 0-1
Rushing: Drew Roe (P) 14(-1), Beau Hammond (P) 1-(-3), Amare Johnson (P) 1-0; JT Brumfield (F) 20-106 TD, Zander Schmidt (F) 5-17, Kam Kitts (F) 1-9 Peyton Jackson (F) 8-3, Zion Martin (F) 1-(-2)
Receiving: Dariyonne Bryant (P) 5-101 2TD, Reade Pendleton (P) 10-62, Jayden Duncan (P) 3-13, Drew Roe (P) 1-10, Beau Hammond (P) 1-(-3); Zander Schmidt (F) 2-64, JT Brumfield (F) 2-15
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 370-0713 ext. 1930, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT © 2021 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved