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Blue Devils spear Panthers behind second-half surge

September 15, 2018 GMT

CHESAPEAKE, Ohio — Gallia Academy (3-1) used a potent running game to wear down the Chesapeake (2-2) defense Friday night at Phil Davis field. The Blue Devils combined for eight rushing touchdowns in a 55-20 rout of the Panthers in their second consecutive road game.

After a slow start, Gallia Academy and Chesapeake traded scores in the first quarter. Blue Devils running back Jacob Campbell helped his offense capitalize on excellent field position after a short punt set Gallia Academy up at its own 44-yard line. Campbell logged a 9-yard run to score, following the touchdown with a successful two-point conversion to give the Blue Devils an 8-0 lead with 7:09 left in the opening quarter.

Chesapeake junior running back Carson Nida had the game’s second-longest play from scrimmage soon after when he sprinted 58 yards untouched to the end zone, answering Gallia Academy’s opening score in less than a minute. Brady Wilson knocked in the extra-point attempt to bring the Panthers within a point of the visiting team.

The Blue Devils moved the ball seemingly at ease in the first half, putting themselves in position to score on all but one of their first-half drives. Gallia Academy controlled the ball for much of the half, using big plays from running back Boo Pullins and quarterback Justin McClelland.

McClelland had touchdown runs from 11 and 16 yards, while Pullins dashed in from 18 after breaking a trio of tackles inside the 5-yard line.

Chesapeake had two touchdown drives of its own in the first half. The aforementioned 58-yard score from Nida, accompanied by a 4-yard scramble from quarterback Austin Browning when he was forced out of the pocket and ran toward the left sideline before cutting back inside and walking into the end zone.

Blue Devils junior kicker Andrew Toller missed both of his first half field goal attempts, including a 32-yard try at the end of the first half, but was successful on two of his three extra point attempts.

Gallia Academy led Chesapeake 28-14 at halftime.

The Blue Devils scored twice in the first four minutes of the second half, ballooning their lead to 42-14 after a pair of touchdown runs including a 65-yarder which came on the first play from scrimmage in the second half by way of sophomore James Armstrong. It was exactly the quick start Gallia Academy head coach Alex Penrod said his team lacked in the first 30 minutes.

“Even though we had the lead at halftime, we didn’t feel we were playing at the level we should have been, especially defensively,” Penrod said. “It showed them we weren’t joking around and that we can play power football and be able to dominate a game on the ground.”

The Blue Devils added four touchdowns in the second half and the defense held Chesapeake to just a single score when Will Todd got his first and only touchdown halfway through the third quarter.

“I think the two sides — offensively and defensively — meshed together well,” Penrod said. “We had some good kickoffs tonight too that helped our defense control the bulk of the field which was great.”

Gallia Academy will stay on the road for one more week, facing Portsmouth next Friday, September 21. Chesapeake will host a third consecutive home game when it faces Coal Grove.

GALLIA ACADEMY 14 14 20 7 — 55

CHESAPEAKE 7 7 6 0 — 20

A — Campbell 9 run (Campbell run)

H — Nida 58 run (Toller kick)

A — Pullins 18 run (kick failed)

A — McClelland 11 run (Toller kick)

H — Browning 4 run (Wilson kick)

A — McClelland 16 run (Toller kick)

A — Armstrong 65 run (Toller kick)

H — Todd run (kick failed)

A — McClelland run (Toller kick)

A — Williams run (Toller kick)