PDT Sports Editor
The season-long adversity lesson continued for the Portsmouth Trojans (1-8, 0-4) as they fell to Warren (3-6, 1-3) 28-14.
The Trojans were down by seven at the half, but allowed a defensive touchdown to the Warriors and then fumbled on the goal line to put the game out of reach.
“We invent ways to make mistakes. It’s like we have a patent on it,” Portsmouth coach Curt Clifford said.
Any mistakes Portsmouth made defensively, Warren’s Austin Kuhn seemed to be the benefactor. Kuhn finished with 286 yards on 35 carries and two touchdowns.
“We stressed it to tackle these guys low,” Clifford said. “We aren’t strong enough to tackle them high and we tackled them high.”
Portsmouth’s first drive faltered and Warren started with good field position at their own 45-yard-line. The Trojan defense, on the strength of a Levi Hall sack on fourth down, forced the Warriors out of the possession.
Portsmouth gambled on fourth down the next drive and attempted a fourth down pass that fell incomplete. Warren took over on the Trojan 39-yard-line.
Two plays later, Warren’s Austin Kuhn was standing in the Portsmouth end zone after a 1-yard touchdown rush that was set up by a 39-yard run to open the drive. The extra point attempt by Chas Miller was good to make it 7-0 Warren with 4:48 left in the first quarter.
Portsmouth moved backwards on the subsequent drive and punted the ball back to Warren. The Warriors went on a nine-play, 43-yard drive that was capped by Kuhn’s second touchdown of the contest with 11:31 left in the second quarter. The extra point made it 14-0 Warren.
The Trojans came alive on their next drive and assembled a 59-yard, eight-play scoring drive that was capped by a 29-yard touchdown pass from Brandon Wedebrook (13 of 25 for 228 yards, TD, INT) to Jacob Albrecht (Two receptions for 57 yards, TD) on fourth down. Albrecht broke a tackle from four yards out to make his way into the end zone.
Zach Delotell’s extra point attempt was good to make it 13-7 Warren with 7:55 left in the half.
Warren’s next drive ended on a missed 41-yard field goal by Chas Miller, but Portsmouth’s drive stalled after eight plays.
“We didn’t block very well up front at all. We couldn’t establish the running game,” Clifford said. “We felt we had a solid game plan going into the ball game and thought we had a chance to beat them, but we couldn’t pinpoint who we needed to block.”
Alex Dickerson ended the Warriors next drive with an interception, but Portsmouth’s possession ended in an interception as well when Andrew Vincent picked Brandon Wedebrook to end the half.
Warren had the opening possession after the intermission and wasted little time expanding its lead. Quarterback Dylan Leffingwell (Nine rushes for 42 yards, TD) scored on a seven-yard keeper to cap a seven-play, 58-yard drive that made it 20-7 Warren with 8:46 left in the third quarter. Miller’s extra point made it 21-7.
Portsmouth moved the ball to its own 41-yard line, but was forced to punt. The Trojan defense showed grit on the Warriors next possession when it stopped Kuhn on a fourth down carry short of the sticks. Portsmouth took over on its own five.
Unfortunately the defensive effort was wasted on the next play when the Trojans fumbled in the end zone and Tanner Barrows of Warren recovered for the touchdown. The advantage was stretched to 28-7 after the extra point with a little under three minutes left in the third quarter.
“It’s what we have done all year long,” Clifford said. “We squander opportunity and when you play our schedule and squander opportunity, you lose.”
After the kickoff, Portsmouth put together its second scoring drive of the game stringing a dozen plays together and amassing 80 yards. Wedebrook pushed the ball over the goal line with 10:55 remaining to give the Trojans a surmountable deficit and the extra point by Delotell made it 28-14.
Portsmouth’s comeback hopes were kindled by a high snap on Warren punt that was downed at the 20-yard line of the Warriors. After a penalty and a 22-yard pass from Wedebrook to Khalil Lattimore (Three receptions 38 yards), the Trojans were set to make it a one possession game, but a fumbled exchange was recovered by the Warriors at the five-yard line.
“I thought that the touchdown on the snap was huge,” Clifford said. “Then when we got down on the goal line we fumbled the snap. I was going to be content to run the quarterback sneak as many times as it took just to avoid a hand off and we fumbled the ball away.”
With 8:12 remaining, Warren ground out the clock over 13 plays to bring the clock to zero and finalize the 28-14 mark.
Portsmouth’s loss marks the first time since the 1995 season that the Trojans have gone winless at home.
“Our kids play hard. We have never heard them say ‘we can’t do this.’ We have one game left, we have to go to Chillicothe and it’s a rivalry game and I fully expect our kids to practice well and play as hard as they can,” Clifford said.
Bob Strickley can be reached at 353-3101, ext. 203, or email@example.com.
Warren 7 7 14 — 28
Portsmouth 0 7 0 7 — 14
W — Kuhn 1-yard run (Miller kick) 4:48
W — Kuhn 2-yard carry (Miller kick) 11:31
P — Albrecht 29-yard pass from Wedebrook 7:55
W — Leffingwell 7-yard carry 8:46
W — Barrows fumble recovery in end zone 2:48
P — Wedebrook 1-yard rush 10:55
Rushing: W — C. Miller 3-(-30), J. Scott 7-18, D. Leffingwell 9-42, A. Kuhn 35-286, A. Henthorn 2-16, Team total 56-332. P — J. Charles 11-40, B. Wedebrook 13-(-5), Team total 24-35.
Passing: W — D. Leffingwell 7-2-24-0-1. P — B. Wedebrook 25-13-228-1-1
Receiving: W — C. Miller 1-11, J. Scott 1-13, D. Ryan 1-0, Team totals: 2-24. P — I. Lisath 4-73, A. Dickerson 4-60, K. Lattimore 3-38, J. Albrecht 1-29-1, Team total 13-228-1.
Turnovers: W — 1. P — 3
Total Team yardage: W — 356. P — 263