Beat them at their own game.
That strategy is becoming a trend for Portsmouth this season, as evidenced against Gallia Academy on Friday.
The Blue Devils had a potent passing attack, but it was the Trojans' that meant the most, as quarterback Shane Porter was 12 of 23 for 304 yards and a touchdown and an interception in the 40-10 victory.
“A lot of times when we go through our team offense, we are using first-team defensive guys, especially in our secondary and our outside linebackers,” said Portsmouth coach Curt Clifford. “They get a look at that stuff, and they have to try and guard us. They have got to try and guard our corps of receivers, and I think this is one time that we had a real good shot at simulating what the opponent was doing. I think it paid off for us.”
Most of those passing yards went to the duo of Forrest Johnson and Malik White. Johnson caught three passes for 162 yards, including an 82-yard touchdown in the third quarter, and White caught six passes for 106 yards. Corey Reeves had three catches for 36 yards.
While it was the passing attack that chalked up the yards, the Trojans relied on their ground attack to score most of the points. Chaze Southern had two touchdowns and a two-point conversion to go with his 33 yards, and Wes Jordan had 36 yards and a touchdown. Porter also had a rushing touchdown.
“We have a hard offense to prepare for,” said Clifford. “One of the things we thought Gallia was going to do was try to jump up and bring blitzes from every angle, which they did. A lot of times, we picked them up. When you play against a defense like that, there are going to be times where they make you look bad, simply because a lot of times, they are going to bring more people than what you have to block.
“When they bring all those guys, and they get picked up, that leaves about four guys to play the entire length and width of the football field. And when you have guys like Malik and Forrest and Corey Reeves, that is really hard to do.”
With the offense well in hand, Portsmouth's defense kept the Blue Devils' offense in check, keeping them out of the end zone after the first quarter, allowing just a Nick Stevens 35-yard field goal in the fourth quarter. Nate Cadogan added a defensive touchdown for the Trojans, intercepting a Shawn Thompson pass in the end zone in the second quarter.
The win improves Portsmouth's record to 5-1 on the year, a win total they have not achieved since 2004 when they went 7-3. The Trojans will travel to Chillicothe next week.
“Chillicothe and Portsmouth go back a long way,” said Clifford. “We think that they will be primed and ready for us.”
JOSH HICKLE can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 241.
Gallia Academy 7 0 0 3 - 10
Portsmouth 12 14 14 0 - 40
P - Southern 15 run (kick failed), 7:15.
GA - McCoy 49 run (Stevens kick), 6:00.
P - Porter 5 run (pass failed), 1:04.
P - Southern 3 run (Southern run), 8:29.
P - Cadogan interception in end zone (kick failed), 2:37.
P - Jordan 4 run (Harcha kick), 11:14.
P - F. Johnson 82 pass from Porter (Harcha kick), 3:18.
GA - Stevens 35 field goal, 11:12.
RUSHING - Portsmouth; Jordan 10-36, Southern 5-33, Reeves 2-30, Mallory 3-10, P. Underwood 2-10, Porter 14-2. Gallia Academy; Wandling 5-51, McCoy 3-46, Garnes 5-42, Marnhout 6-38, Allison 3-17, Ja. Golden 3-15, Thompson 7-8, Noble 1-(-1).
PASSING - Portsmouth; Porter 12-23-1 304. Gallia Academy; Thompson 14-29-0 106, Wandling 1-3-0 12.
RECEIVING - Portsmouth; F. Johnson 3-162, M. White 6-106, Reeves 3-36. Gallia Academy; Noble 8-87, Ja. Golden 3-17, Janes 1-13, McCoy 3-5, Marnhout 1-0, Allison 1-(-4).
RECORDS - Portsmouth 5-1 (2-1), Gallia Academy 2-4 (0-3).