MINFORD — The Minford Falcons were able to add one to the win column on Friday night over the Portsmouth West Senators, following a road loss to Wheelersburg a week ago.
Taking the final in 35-14, the Falcons controlled the air game on both sides.
“It’s always good to get back on track,” said Minford head coach Jesse Ruby. “Hopefully, we can look from the mistakes we made tonight and improve for next week.”
With the exception of a blocked field-goal attempt by the Senators, the first quarter was relatively quiet until a late 27-yard strike from Minford quarterback Elijah Vogelsong-Lewis to Drew Skaggs.
It was the start of a busy night for Vogelsong-Lewis, the Marshall University baseball commit, who produced nearly 430 yards of total offense.
Throwing four touchdowns and passing for 342 yards, receivers Skaggs and Matthew Risner were the primary beneficiaries.
Leading the Falcons in receiving with nine grabs and 168 yards, Risner’s hands remained active on the defensive side of the ball.
His two interceptions helped his team pitch a shutout in the second half.
“Risner’s that type of gameplay-maker every game,” said Ruby. “We had to adjust a few things to keep trying to get him the ball. He always shows up each week offensively and defensively.”
The second quarter was a back-and-forth affair, with both teams trading big plays and scores on four consecutive drives.
The Senators struck first with a one-yard rush by quarterback Mitchell Irwin — the short field set up by a 78-yard jet sweep from Jeffery Bishop and assisted by Falcons’ penalties.
Less than two minutes later, Skaggs brought in a four-yard jump pass from Vogelsong-Lewis to regain the lead.
Three connections with Risner, including a miraculous sideline snag, put the Falcons in good position to score.
Another quick response was followed by West, this time a five-yard touchdown pass from Irwin to Luke Bradford.
Bradford led all Senators with 10 receptions, good for 117 yards and his lone scoring grab.
To end the offensive onslaught, Vogelsong-Lewis connected with Risner from 59 yards out, which brought the score at half to 21-14.
Minford looked like it would add to its lead after recovering a fumble on the kickoff, but Hunter Brown redeemed himself and intercepted a pass inside the red zone.
The fireworks did not carry over into the third quarter.
The only play that finished in the end zone, a 50-yard scamper by Bishop, was called back on multiple West holding penalties.
The Falcon offense made a resurgence in the fourth, enough to gain a comfortable lead.
Vogelsong-Lewis’s second interception was soon canceled out by Risner’s first.
Their 37-yard connection arranged a three-yard passing touchdown to Timmy Walk.
Freshman Jeffrey Pica finished the scoring with a 36-yard sprint. His 44 rushing yards were part of the team’s 129.
Brown led all ballcarriers with 113 yards on 18 carries for a strong 6.3 yards per carry average.
Minford’s defense was light’s out in the second half, ball-hawking four of Irwin’s five interceptions in the final two quarters — on four consecutive possessions.
By “reading our keys, playing our assignments, and flying to the football,” Ruby said the shutdown was made possible.
“I give all the credit to our defensive staff,” said Ruby. “We just focused in and got our kids to focus on the little things and we took care of business in the second half.”
Minford (2-1) will travel to Oak Hill (1-2) in week four, while West (1-2) will return home to face Valley (1-2).
Reach Patrick Keck (740)-353-3501 ext. 1931, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @pkeckreporter.
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