Blue Devils tame Panthers, 55-20

By Bryan Walters -

CHESAPEAKE, Ohio — They definitely hopped back up after getting knocked down.

After suffering a late heartbreaker at Jackson last week, the Gallia Academy football team responded by putting up season-highs in rushing, total yards and total points on Friday night following a 55-20 thumping of host Chesapeake in the Ohio Valley Conference opener for both programs at Bill Davis Stadium in Lawrence County.

The Blue Devils (3-1, 1-0 OVC) led wire-to-wire in the Week 4 gridiron clash as the guests churned out 525 yards of total offense while building leads of 14-7 and 28-14 over the first two quarters of play.

The Blue and White drove the proverbial nail into the coffin during a third period that saw three different rushers produce scores, allowing the Blue Devils to increase their lead out to 48-20 headed into the final period.

Briar Williams tacked on an 18-yard score in the fourth for a 35-point cushion, giving GAHS its largest lead of the night.

Gallia Academy grinded out 426 rushing yards on 43 carries, an average of 9.9 yards per attempt, and also produced 99 passing yards while picking up the program’s third consecutive OVC triumph.

The Panthers (2-2, 0-1), conversely, mustered 201 rushing yards on 37 attempts and also managed 56 passing yards for a final total of 257 yards of offense.

The Blue Devils claimed a 15-10 edge in first downs and finished the evening plus-1 in turnover differential. Jacob Campbell forced a fumble that was picked up Cory Call for the only takeaway of the game.

Campbell also started the scoring early in the first quarter with a nine-yard run, then tacked on a successful two-point conversion run for an 8-0 edge.

Carson Nida followed with a 58-yard scamper that allowed the Purple and White to close within 8-7, but the hosts were ultimately never closer.

Lane Pullins tacked on an 18-yard run near the end of the first for a 14-7 contest, then Justin McClelland added an 11-yard scamper early in the second for a 21-7 cushion.

Austin Browning pulled the Panthers back to within a possession following a four-yard run, but the guests received another McClelland score — this time from 16 yards out — to take a 28-14 advantage into the break.

James Armstrong started third quarter outbreak with a 65-yard jaunt to paydirt that gave the guests a 35-14 edge.

Pullins and McClelland also added TD runs in the third, sandwiched around a Will Todd scoring run, that allowed the Blue Devils to take a commanding 48-20 lead into the finale.

Gallia Academy had eight different ball carriers in the game, and all eight produced at least double digits in gains.

McClelland paced the guests with 90 yards on a dozen carries, followed by Pullins with 84 yards on 11 attempts and Armstrong with 84 yards on four totes.

McClelland was 7-of-13 passing for 99 yards. Call led the wideouts with four catches for 35 yards, while Armstrong hauled in two passes for 38 yards.

Cade Roberts led the defense with seven tackles, including a pair for loss. Trentin Waller and Cole Davis also had four stops apiece for the victors.

GAHS was flagged six times for 60 yards and punted twice for an average of 41 yards. Chesapeake, on the other hand, punted five times for an average of 21.4 yards and were also penalized seven times for 45 yards.

Browning led CHS with 81 rushing yards on 12 carries and also completed 3-of-11 passes for 56 yards.

After surrendering 34 points in their Week 1 opener against Meigs, the Blue Devils have allowed just 35 points in the their three contests since.

Gallia Academy returns to OVC action Friday when it travels to Portsmouth for a 7 p.m. contest with the Trojans.

By Bryan Walters

Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.

Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.