GALLIPOLIS, Ohio — The Blue Devils have taken the first step toward winning the Southeastern Ohio Athletic League crown.
The Gallia Academy football team held visiting SEOAL foe Chillicothe to just 52 yards in the first half Friday night en route to a 20-7 victory on Hall of Fame night at Memorial Field.
Neither team got the ball rolling on offense in the first quarter, but a 59 yard punt return by Cody Russell early in the second quarter to put the Blue Devils (4-2, 0-1 SEOAL) in prime scoring position. Six plays later Russell busted through the middle of the line from two yards out for the touchdown. Dylan Saunders added the extra point and GAHS had the 7-0 lead with 5:35 left in the half. Gallia Academy held the seven point advantage at halftime.
Chillicothe (1-5, 0-1) received the ball after half and the Cavaliers didn’t waste any time getting on the board. CHS junior Markel Cain took the pitch from quarterback Ryan Mathis and ran 50 yards to pay dirt. Jacob Weber added the point after touchdown, capping off the three-play 65-yard drive.
After a turnover on their previous drive the Blue Devils regained possession at the 8:58 mark in the third quarter, after forcing a three-and-out. A nine-play drive capped off by a pass from Wade Jarrell to tight end Seth Atkins and Gallia Academy was on the board again. Saunders converted his extra point kick and the hosts were up 14-7 with 4:17 remaining in the third period.
The ensuing kick off was fumbled by by the Cavaliers and GAHS gained possession at the Chillicothe 31 yard line. Five plays later the Russell was in the endzone from one yard out for his second score of the game. The point after touchdown was blocked and Gallia Academy led 20-7.
Gallia Academy received the ball with 1:00 remaining in the third quarter and controlled the ball until the 9:10 mark of fourth quarter. After an interception by Reid Eastman with six minutes remaining the Blue Devils ran 5:49 off the clock before giving the ball up. Gallia Academy earned the 20-7 victory.
Nick Clagg led the Blue Devils with 58 yards rushing on eight carries, followed by Jarrell with 43 on 13. Russell rushed 17 times compiling 42 yards and two scores, while Logan Allison had three carries for 22 yards, Ty Warnimont had four carries for 15 yards, and Luke Pullins had four carries for five yards.
Jarrell completed 6-of-11 passes for 65 yards, while throwing one interception and one touchdown. Jarrell was sacked four times.
Russell led GAHS with two receptions for 19 yards, followed by Atkins with one catch for 12 yards and a TD. Allison and Justin Bailey each had one catch for 11 yards, while Eastman caught one pass for eight yards, and Clagg received one for four yards.
Cain led the CHS rushing attack with 82 yards on 15 attempts with a score, followed by Caleb Price with 13 yards on one carry, Julius Lee with 12 yards on three carries, and Mathis with two yards on seven attempts.
Mathis was 7-of-20 through the air with 65 yards and an interception.The Blue Devils brought Mathis down in the backfield three times on the night.
Trevon Harris led the Cavaliers in receiving with three grabs for 29 yards, followed by Cain with two catches for 17 yards. Luke Barnes caught one pass for 12 yards and Lee had one reception for seven yards for CHS.
Gallia Academy’s Eastman and Chillicothe’s Isaiah Johnson each had an interception on the night.
GAHS had 251 total yards,186 rushing and 65 through the air, while earning 13 first downs on the night. Gallia Academy fumbled twice in the game, losing possession on one, and was flagged seven times for 50 yards.
The Cavaliers earned eight first downs on the night, while totaling 174 yards, 109 rushing and 65 passing. CHS fumbled twice, losing possession once, while getting penalized six times for 46 yards.
The Blue Devils return to action next Friday at Memorial Field as they take on Portsmouth in the homecoming game.