Hudson Shamblin
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Carson Francis

Carson is an aspiring journalist and a student at Ohio University's E.W. Scripps School of Journalism. He's a lifelong fan of all things Reds, Bengals and Buckeyes, and has seen the game through the eyes of a player, fan and reporter.

Gallia Academy stays perfect, rolls over Portsmouth

The Devils are now 5-0.

Carson Francis, Staff Writer

Southern Ohio Sports Authority is presented by OhioHealth.

GALLIPOLIS — Some games seem to be over before they even start.

Thanks to a 30-point first quarter and five passing touchdowns from quarterback Braylan Rathburn, Gallia Academy cruised to a 50-18 victory over Portsmouth, remaining undefeated.

From the get-go, the Devils (5-0, 2-0 OVC) were in control.

Gallia Academy’s Kenyon Franklin carries the football during a game last season. Franklin helped his Devils knock off Portsmouth on Friday.
CREDIT: Derrick Webb/SOSA

“I’m just proud of everyone,” Rathburn said. “Our offensive line was amazing, [wide receiver Kenyon Franklin] showed out, and I’m proud of all of them.”

The Blue Devils wasted no time gracing the scoreboard.

After forcing a three-and-out on the game’s opening drive, Gallia got busy right away. On the second play from scrimmage, Rathburn found running back Hudson Shamblin on the outside, and Shamblin did the rest of the work, taking it 86 yards to the house and making it 6-0 early.

Portsmouth (2-3, 1-1 OVC) was forced to punt on its next drive, but the snap went over the punter’s head and through the back of the end zone for a safety, making it an 8-0 game with 6:26 left in the quarter.

20 seconds later, Rathburn was back for more, finding Hunter Shamblin from 36 yards out for his second passing touchdown of the night. A pass from Rathburn to Kenyon Franklin was complete on the two-point try, making it 16-0.  

Gallia’s defense wasn’t left out of the party, either.

With Portsmouth starting to show signs of life offensively, the Blue Devils took advantage of a miscue and recovered a fumble at the Portsmouth 42-yard line. From there, they drove down to the 3, where Hunter Shamblin carried the ball in to extend the lead to 24-0.

Those 24 points were all Gallia needed to win. But they weren’t all the Devils collected.

A 40-yard touchdown rush from Hudson Shamblin with 31 seconds left in the first capped off a 30-point first quarter while the Trojans had nothing to show for.

“Our offensive line was great tonight,” Franklin said. “Hudson was amazing tonight. [Rathburn] stepped up big for us. He’s been delivering.”

But despite all the fireworks the Blue Devils were firing, there were still three quarters of football left to be played and Portsmouth wasn’t ready to go home just yet.

The Trojans finally put a successful drive together in the second. The drive was capped by Camron Williams finding Noah Livingston on a six-yard score, putting Portsmouth on the board with just under six minutes left in the half.

This meant nothing to the Blue Devil offense, however.

Rathburn led his team right back out there and found success once more, this time connecting with Franklin for a 32-yard passing touchdown — Rathburn’s third of the game – extending the lead to 36-6 with 4:54 to go.

“We knew we had to keep the energy,” Rathburn said. “Keep everyone on the sideline locked in.”

The Trojans found pay dirt once more with 33 seconds left in the second when Williams powered his way into the end zone on a QB sneak, making the score 36-12 going into the break.

If Portsmouth was ever going to get back into the game, it was going to need to come out swinging right away in the third quarter.

And for a moment, it looked like the Trojans were going to do just that. The team’s defense forced a fumble and recovered it in enemy territory at the 10:06 mark in the third. This made way for Chase Heiland to carry it in from 14 yards out, cutting the deficit to 36-18 with 9:19 remaining.

“We had to lock back in and play physical”, Franklin said. “We knew Chase Heiland was an amazing back, so we knew if we stopped him we would have a good chance.”

Despite a valiant effort, the hole dug was already too deep for the Trojans to climb out of. Rathburn delivered two more touchdowns, a 20-yard strike into double coverage to Joey Barnbrough and, later, a 47-yard strike to Franklin, to complete the night’s final.

“We knew coming in that [Portsmouth] ran man coverage,” Franklin said. “I knew I had to win my matchups and make big plays, and knew [Rathburn] would get the ball there.”

Rathburn completed five passes for touchdowns in the game, two to Franklin, one to Hunter Shamblin, one to Hudson Shamblin, and another to Barnbrough. Both Shamblin brothers additionally contributed with a rushing touchdown.

Gallia now looks to remain undefeated on Friday as it travels to Fairland, while Portsmouth looks to get back to .500, hosting Coal Grove.

“The last couple weeks we’ve defended more of the running game”, Franklin said. “Going into Fairland, our defensive backs are going to have to lock in. We’re going against a lot more of a passing game.”


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