PDT Sports Writer
Every battle a football team encounters each week brings the potential for misfortunes.
Minford had little resistance Saturday night from host Portsmouth as the Falcons outgained the Trojans 365-249 on their way to a 34-6 win. However, Minford received a major scare when Austin Carter was taken to the hospital in an ambulance.
“I thought the kids came out with good intensity tonight,” Falcons coach Brent Daniels said. “They threw us some different things that we (weren’t) ready for and our kids adjusted well to it. I thought we ran and threw the ball well tonight, it was a good performance.”
Minford drew first blood late in the first half. Two plays after dropping a wide open pass from Cody Stapleton, Jack White redeemed himself with a 25-yard touchdown catch on fourth down.
White then intercepted Brandon Wedebrook on the third play of the ensuing Portsmouth drive. A 62-yard run by Zach Justice set up a 4-yard plunge by Levi Jenkins on the opening play of the second stanza but Matt Joyce missed the extra point.
“The defense did another outstanding job,” Daniels said. “… It set us up in good field position again.”
Joyce did get the ball back for the Falcons on the next kickoff when his pooch kick dropped between levels of the Trojan return squad and Tate Hall fell on the pigskin. Carter capped the 5-play, 38-yard drive with a 17-yard scamper.
“It’s just a total bust on us as coaches not having people ready to go,” Portsmouth coach Jason Sparks said in reference to the plethora of mental mistakes made by his team. “We’ve got kids down with injuries that are out and we’ve got to have somebody ready to go.”
Minford forced a Wedebrook fumble on the next series and aimed to plunge the dagger into the Trojans’ hopes but Stapleton’s second touchdown toss to White was negated by an illegal man downfield penalty. However, the Falcons did take a 27-0 lead into the locker room on their next march when Carter’s tally from a yard out capped a 13-play, 91-yard drive that needed 4:08 to complete.
With five minutes to go in the third, Portsmouth’s Isiaha Lisath picked up a 5-yard carry. During the play, Carter went down with an upper-body injury and was taken to the hospital for tests. Daniels hopes to get him back for next week’s showdown at Oak Hill.
The Trojans ended Minford’s shutout streak at 173:28 when Wedebrook found Khalil Lattimore for a 20-yard pass with 7:48 remaining.
“We had some momentum and we had some things,” Sparks said. “It was not like it was a great play we drew up in the dirt, we just took what they gave us.”
The Falcons did conclude the scoring when Jenkins scored his second touchdown of the evening, this time from a yard away. Justice had a game-high 122 yards on 10 carries while Stapleton was 5-of-12 passing for 53 yards against his former team.
For the second-straight season, Minford and the previously-mentioned Oaks will square off with the goal of reaching a 5-0 record. Last year, the Falcons survived a 20-19 triple overtime home contest with Oak Hill. With Minford making the trip to Jackson County, Daniels knows it will be another large test for his ball club.
“Coach (Nathan) Dugan does an outstanding job up there,” Daniels said. “We’ve got to get in there, get a few more things corrected and we expect another smashmouth football game.”
Johnnie Charles had 115 yards on 16 totes in the loss.
For the first time this season, Portsmouth will hit the road to take on arch-rival Ironton. The Fighting Tigers have won the last five in the series to take the lead in one of the longest-running high school football rivalries in the state of Ohio.
Cody Leist can be reached at 353-3101, ext. 294, or firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking sports news, follow Cody on Twitter @CodyLeist.
M 7 13 0 7 — 34
P 0 0 0 6 — 6
M — White 25 pass from Stapleton (Joyce kick) 1:54
M — Jenkins 4 run (kick failed) 11:55
M — Carter 17 run (Joyce kick) 9:48
M — Carter 1 run (Joyce kick) :26
P — Lattimore 20 pass from Wedebrook (kick blocked) 7:48
M — L. Jenkins 1 run (Joyce kick) 4:20
First Downs 20 12
Rush Att-Yds 54-312 33-171
Pass Att-Comp-Int 12-5-0 22-10-1
Pass Yds 53 78
Total Yds 365 249
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 2-2
Turnovers 1 3
Penalties-Yds 3-15 7-49
Punts-Avg 3-39 3-33
RUSHING: M — Justice 10-122, Carter 16-94, Jenkins 13-79, Compton 7-14, Hall 1-2, Stapleton 5-1, TEAM 2-0; P — Charles 16-115, Wedebrook 8-39, Lisath 6-7, Hollins 2-8, Delotell 1-2.
PASSING: M — Stapleton 5-12-0 53; P — Wedebrook 8-19-1 68, Oliver 2-3-0 10.
RECEIVING: M — White 3-32, Justice 2-21; P — Lattimore 4-49, Albrecht 1-10, Lisath 1-8, Dickerson 2-7, Hollins 1-4.
Records — Minford 4-0; Portsmouth 1-3.