GALLIPOLIS, Ohio —No matter what the Blue Devils did Friday night, they need to keep doing it.
The Gallia Academy football team racked up 455 total yards en route to a 40-12 victory over the visiting Vinton County Vikings, in a non-conference match up at Memorial Field.
Gallia Academy (3-2) set up shop at its own 37 yard line to begin the game and showed a nice balance of the running and the passing game as the offense marched down the field. On third and goal from the six yard line quarterback Wade Jarrell found Reid Eastman in the back left corner of the end zone for six points, capping off the nine play drive. Dylan Saunders added the extra point and Gallia Academy led 7-0 at the 8:17 mark of the first quarter.
Vinton County’s (1-4) opening drive was halted by a fumble forced by GAHS linebacker Ty Warnimont and recovered by the Blue Devils. Gallia Academy took possession on the Vikings 40 yard line with 6:56 remaining in the first quarter. Warnimont was the player GAHS turned to on its second drive of the game, calling his number on all three plays. A 13 yard run, a 20 yard run and a seven yard run off the right tackle gave Warnimont the touchdown and Gallia Academy the 13-0 lead. Saunders extra point attempt was successful and GAHS led 14-0 with 6:16 left in the first quarter.
After forcing a three-and-out the Blue Devils gained control of the pigskin at the 4:08 mark and for the third straight drive there was no stopping the GAHS offense. A six play, 41 yard, drive capped off by a four yard touchdown pass from Jarrell to Nick Clagg gave Gallia Academy the 20-0 lead with 1:13 remaining in the opening stanza.
Both team coughed up the football before the end of the first quarter and VCHS began the second quarter with the ball on its own one yard line. The Vikings managed to get the ball to the 20 yard line but were forced to punt giving GAHS stellar field position yet again. For the first time in the game GAHS failed to score on a drive and turned the ball over on downs at the Vinton County 42 yard line.
On the first play of Vinton County’s ensuing drive Cody Call picked off Andy Long’s pass and returned it 15 yards to midfield at the 6:01 mark of the second quarter. four plays into their drive it had appeared Gallia Academy had put up six again but a holding penalty brought the ball back to the 16 yard line. A 15 yard run by Jarrell set the Blue Devils up on the one yard line and from there Clagg punched it in, capping off the six play, fifty yard drive. Saunders made the point after and GAHS led 27-0 with 2:30 remaining in the half.
The Vikings had some fight left in them and on the first play of their next drive Long completed a pass to Dillon Acord down the left side of the field for 63 yards. Gallia Academy’s defense hed the Vikings three times inside the five yard line but Long pushed through the line to put VCHS on the scoreboard with 20 seconds remaining in the half. The two-point conversion attempt was failed by the Vikings and they trailed the Blue Devils 27-6 just seconds before halftime.
GAHS started a drive on its own side of the field for the first time in the game but only had time for three plays before the halftime whistle blew.
Vinton County was driving down the field to start the second half but Gallia Academy Cody Russell intercepted Long’s pass and returned it to the VCHS 47 yard line at the 8:51 mark of the third period. After a three yard set back GAHS quarterback Jarrell rolled right out of the pocket and completed a long pass to tight end Seth Atkins, who broke through several tackles and into the end zone for six points. Saunders added the extra point and the Blue Devils led 34-6 at the 8:14 mark of the third canto.
The Blue Devil defense forced VCHS into a three and out and the offense took over at the GAHS 47 yard line. After four plays it Vinton County had forced the Blue Devils to line up to punt, however a VCHS player had lined up offsides, giving the blue and white a fresh set of downs. The hosts executed a ground and pound offense the rest of the drive, tiring the Viking defense and burning time off the clock. Luke Pullins finally found pay dirt for GAHS, capping off a 15 play 7:08 second drive. The point after attempt failed and the Blue Devils led 40-6 with 11:22 remaining in the game.
VCHS was driving down the field on its next possession but Long threw his third interception of the game, this time in the end zone, and the hosts took over at the 20 yard line. The Vikings stripped and recovered the ball on the first play of Gallia Academy’s drive and they took over at the GAHS 40 yard line. Seven plays and just over four minutes later Long ran up the middle for his second score of the game but the two-point conversion attempt failed and GAHS led 40-12.The Blue Devils got the ball with 3:41 seconds remaining and they ran the clock to zero to take the victory.
Clagg led the rushing attack for the blue and white with 70 yards on 10 carries with a TD, followed by Logan Allison with 53 yards on six carries and Pullins with 51 yards on eight carries with a touchdown. Warnimont had 41 yards on four carries with a score, Wade Jarrell had 26 yards on nine carries, Russell had 22 yards on five carries, Elisjsha Miller had 18 yards on two carries and Wes Jarrell had 10 yards on three carries to round out the GAHS rushing total.
Wade Jarrell was 9-10 passing, with his only incompletion coming on a dropped pass, for 164 yards and three touchdowns. Russell led the GAHS receiving with 65 yards on three catches, followed by Atkins with one catch for 50 yards and a score. Justin Bailey had one reception for 29 yards, Eastman had two catches for 10 yards with a score, Pullins had one grab for six yards and Clagg had one catch for four yards and a touchdown.
Gallia Academy had 19 first downs on the night with 455 total yards. The Blue Devils compiled 291 rushing yards on 47 attempts and 164 yards through the air. GAHS did fumble five times in the game, losing possession twice, and the blue and white were penalized eight times for 55 yards.
Vinton was led on the ground by freshman Tim Ousley, who had 38 yards on 17 carries. Dillon Acode had 3 yards on 14 carries, Long had nine yards on nine carries with both VCHS touchdowns, and Nate Shrader had four yards on three carries. Long was 5-of-9 passing with three interceptions and 132 yards. Acord led VCHS with two receptions for 76 yards, followed by Jordan Kidd with 29 yards on two receptions and Ousley with 22 yards on one grab.
Vinton County had nine first downs in the contest to go with 197 total yards. The Vikings ran 32 times for 65 yards, and added 132 yards through the air. VCHS fumbled three time, losing possession on two of the fumbles, and were penalized three times for 25 yards.
Gallia Academy has already posted more points this year (175) through five weeks than it had all of last year (137).
GAHS will look to make its win streak three games as it Chillicothe next week to open Southeastern Ohio Athletic League play in the middle of a three game home stand.
Vinton County will look to right the ship as it host Alexander next week to open Tri-Valley Conference Ohio Division play.