Jeffery Bishop
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Tyler Harris

Tyler is a contributing writer for SOSA with previous work for the Chillicothe Gazette. He resides in Ashland, Ky., bleeds Maize and Blue (Go Blue), is an avid outdoorsman and is always up for a good sports debate.

Portsmouth West regroups, rushes past Portsmouth in rivalry game

Halftime adjustments helped Portsmouth West run past Portsmouth.

Tyler Harris, Staff Writer

Southern Ohio Sports Authority is presented by OhioHealth.

PORTSMOUTH — The way that Friday’s matchup between West and Portsmouth started was flat-out bizarre.

If you by chance predicted a 35-yard sack, a goal line stand, a fumble and a blocked field goal to start the night, you need to play the lottery.

After those events took place, it appeared that both teams were in for a long night. As a matter of fact, the entire first half played out in a similar way as neither could execute their offense.

West quarterback Cole Tipton rushed for a touchdown in Friday’s win.
CREDIT: Baylee Harris/SOSA

But with 24 seconds left in the first quarter, West (1-1) finally broke a scoreless tie when Jeffery Bishop’s 53-yard reception set up quarterback Cole Tipton to dive past the pylon, putting the Senators ahead 7-0. 

The Trojans (1-1) then responded with a 12-play drive of their own that was capped by a Chase Heiland touchdown — and a two-point conversion that settled the halftime score at 8-7.

With the game, and the win, there for the taking, Portsmouth’s Camron Williams seized the moment, opening the second half with an electrifying 45-yard touchdown run to make it 14-7.

But West knew it had to respond and that’s exactly what happened.

“We talked at halftime and we really didn’t execute in the first half. They were taking it to us physically,” West coach Todd Gilliland said. “We made a few adjustments at halftime and, really, our guys just executed. That’s what happened and they capitalized on opportunities that we missed in the first half.”

A big key to that execution offensively was the big men up front, and the vision of junior running back Mason Parker. After fumbling on the team’s second drive of the second half, Parker put his team on his back and responded with the first of his three touchdowns. This one came from 45 yards out, tying the game at 14-14.

PHOTOS: Images from West’s win over Portsmouth

“He’s just a gamer for us,” Gilliland said of his workhorse back. “When his backup went down, he asked for the ball. He just wanted it. He found the holes behind the offensive line and was able to carry us through the second half.”

Once the Senators’ offense got rolling, the defense finally joined the party, forcing four punts and a fumble on Portsmouth’s final five possessions. The Senators forced four turnovers and held a high-powered attack to just 75 total yards in the second half, making all the difference.

“We talked at half about doing what we worked on all week,” Gilliland said of his defense. “We were a little scattered early on, but we calmed down and when our guys started reading their keys and playing disciplined. You can see the improvement in the second half.”

With the game tied and 1:38 remaining in the third, the Senators took back the lead on an eight-yard plunge from Parker, which put them in control for good. Parker then decided he wasn’t done and later raced 44 yards for his final score of the evening, pushing the advantage to 28-14. 

Jack Holbrook capped off the night with a 24-yard field goal, rounding out the final score. 

“We came in this week and that feeling of losing [to Fairland in Week 1], it sucks,” Tipton said. “We didn’t want to feel that. So we stepped it up, picked things up and worked on it. Now, we have the results we want.”

Stat book

The Senators were led by Parker, who carried the rock 15 times for 140 yards and three scores. Tipton also rushed for a touchdown and Jeffery Bishop pitched in 151 all-purpose yards.

Portsmouth was led by Heiland, who had a game-high 23 carries for 90 yards and a score. Williams was right behind him with 17 carries for 92 yards and a touchdown of his own.

What’s on tap

While Portsmouth attempts to bounce back in Week 3, hosting Greenup County (Ky.), West hosts Hillsboro — a team that’s coming off a 56-19 win over Goshen.

“We were a little frustrated in the first quarter,” Tipton said. “Nothing was really happening. But we came together, talked things out and it worked.”


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