WEST PORTSMOUTH — Football was back on the ‘West Side’ of Scioto County on Friday — and in a big way.
In their first home game since the 2020 COVID-19 shortened season — and first home full capacity game since 2019 — the Portsmouth West Senators pitched a 41-0 shutout in their week three victory over visiting Adena.
It took a quarter for the Senators to settle in and get the game’s first points, but once they did, the points came in bunches.
West junior Solomon Norman was all alone in the west end zone when senior quarterback Mitchell Irwin found him for a 38-yard touchdown pass on 4th and nine with 10:28 left in the second quarter to give West a 7-0 lead — following Carson Malnar’s made extra-point.
Not only was it the first points of the game, it was the first on West’s new turf field after 13 games away from their home dating back to 2020.
“It was an exciting night for us. The stands were full, the community was excited — and the boys were excited,” West coach Todd Gilliland said, after the win. “I think that kind of led to some sloppy play for us at the beginning. We had to come back in at halftime, regroup and make some coaching adjustments — and the kids responded. We played really well in the second half. Calmed down, and played real physical football and it was a really great win.”
Following a turnover on downs on their next possession, West junior Trevor Fike intercepted an Adena pass and returned it down to the Warriors’ one-yard line.
One play later after the change of possession, Senators senior Ryan Sissel gave West a 13-0 lead with 3:39 left in the first half on a one-yard touchdown run.
Sissel would score again in the second half on a six-yard run. The senior tailback tallied 25 carries for 121 yards to go with his pair of scores.
West junior Masion Smith scored the game’s final points with his first carry of the game — a 47-yard touchdown run with 7:52 to play that put the Senators in front 41-0.
On two scoring drives in the second half, West needed just three plays or less to put the ball into the endzone for six.
The first play following the halftime break, Irwin passed to junior Jeffery Bishop who raced for a 53-yard touchdown to put West ahead 21-0 — after leading 13-0 at the break.
Later in the half, Fike caught a 49-yard touchdown pass from Irwin that gave West a 34-0 lead and began the OHSAA’s running clock rule.
Irwin completed 9-of-13 passes for 227 yards as the game’s leading passer. Four different West receivers, including Bishop, Norman, Fike, and Cole Tipton had at-least 38 receiving yards as part of their aerial assault.
“We want to stay balanced every night if we can. That makes us difficult to defend,” Gilliland said, of his offense. “We want to be able to loosen the defense up so they can’t pack the box against Ryan (Sissel), and they can’t play deep to stop the pass. Staying balanced will really help and in the long run, it’s something that’s keeping us and Ryan healthier.”
On the defensive side of the ball, West allowed just four Adena first downs and 142 total yards. The Warriors completed just one pass on 11 attempts and outside of a 72 yard run by sophomore Nathan Dreitzler, Adena rushed for just 27 yards the rest of the night.
The Senators defense stood tall and kept Adena out of the endzone for the entirety of the game — including twice when the Warriors had first and goal opportunities inside their 10-yard line.
In their first three games, West’s defense is allowing an average of seven points a game to their opponents.
“Our defense has played great all year. We’re so excited with how they’ve played,” Gilliland said. “Weren’t too happy with a couple big plays, but those things are going to happen. We played a really aggressive, attacking style defense and those things happen. We recovered — it was great that we came up with two goal line stands to keep them from getting in the end zone in the first half. Showed some resolve there. Overall, our guys are flying to the ball and we’re tackling well.”
Following their home opener, West will play three additional home games in a row in weeks four-through-six.
The Senators welcome Wellston to ‘The Rock’ in week four before hosting KIPP Columbus in week five. To begin Southern Ohio Conference Division II play, West will host Waverly in week six.
“We’ve talked about controlling what we can control, and now we’re focused on Wellston. The key that we’ve talked about this week and next week, we have to get better. We’re going to look at Wellston and scout, but we have to do everything better each week,” Gilliland said. “Head placement, taking the correct steps, reading the keys — making sure we’re doing those things right when if you’re playing a really good team, making those mistakes could hurt you.”
Adena 0 0 0 0 — 0
Portsmouth West 0 13 21 7 — 41
W — Solomon Norman, 38-yard pass from Mitchell Irwin (Carson Malnar XP good); 7-0 W 10:28 2Q
W — Ryan Sissel, 1-yard run (XP missed); 13-0 W 3:39 2Q
W — Jeffery Bishop, 53-yard pass from Mitchell Irwin (2-point attempt successful); 21-0 W 11:42 3Q
W — Ryan Sissel, 6-yard run (Carson Malnar XP good); 28-0 W 3:31 3Q
W — Trevor Fike, 49-yard pass from Mitchell Irwin (XP missed); 34-0 W 1:00 3Q
W — Masion Smith, 47-yard run (Carson Malnar XP good); 41-0 W 7:52 4Q
|Yards (Pass-Rush)||142 (43-99)||434 (227-207)|
|Penalties||6 for 50 yards||3 for 35 yards|
|Time of Possession||20:47||27:13|
Passing: Andrew Vickers (A) 1/10, 43 yards INT; Mitchell Irwin (W) 9/13 227 yards, 3TD, INT
Rushing: Nathan Dreitzler (A) 14-83, Austin Magill (A) 3-26, Caleb Osborne (A) 3-7, Mason Dyer (A) 1-1, Darian Thomas (A) 2-(-6); Ryan Sissel (W) 25-121 2TD, Masion Smith (W) 5-61 TD, Mitchell Irwin (W) 2-21, Hayden Lore (W) 1-2, Mason Parker (W) 1-1, Brandon Barfield (W) 1-1, Jeffery Bishop (W) 1-0
Receiving: Kayden McWhorter (A) 1-43; Jeffery Bishop (W) 3-80 TD, Trevor Fike (W) 2-56 TD, Cole Tipton 3-53, Solomon Norman 1-38 TD
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 370-0713 ext. 1930, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT © 2022 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved