WELLSTON, Ohio — The Blue Devils simply took advantage of an opportunity when it was presented.
The Gallia Academy football team claimed a 19-14 victory over non-conference host Wellston on Saturday night in Jackson County, scoring the go-ahead touchdown after a WHS turnover in the final eight minutes of play.
The Blue Devils (3-1) — who were originally slated to face Coal Grove in Ohio Valley Conference action on Friday — led 7-0 2:35 into play, with Zach Belville catching a 12-yard scoring pass from Noah Vanco, and Caleb Geiser making the point-after kick.
Wellston (3-1) — which was scheduled to play Athens in the Tri-Valley Conference Ohio Division on Friday — got six points back in the third quarter, as Jeremiah Frisby found Chase Ingalls for a 40-yard scoring pass.
The Golden Rockets took the lead 14 seconds into the fourth quarter, with a 23-yard touchdown pass from Frisby to Hunter Smith. Frisby completed a two-point conversion pass to Evan Brown, making the hosts’ lead 14-7 with 11:46 left in the game.
GAHS was picked off on its next drive, but forced a turnover on downs to get the ball back on its own 37. Two plays later, Vanco found James Armstrong for a 63-yard touchdown pass, bringing the Blue Devils within one point. Gallia Academy’s two-point try was stuffed, and Wellston led 14-13 with 8:42 to play.
The Blue Devils got the ball back with 7:43 left in the game, as freshman Cole Hines recovered a Golden Rocket fumble at the WHS 41.
Gallia Academy covered the 41-yards in seven plays, converting a pair of fourth down attempts on the drive. Armstrong scored the game-winning touchdown with 4:38 remaining on a six-yard run, propelling Gallia Academy to the 19-14 victory.
Wellston ended the game with a 19-to-12 advantage in first downs, and a 323-to-283 advantage in total offense, including 122-to-70 on the ground. GAHS won the turnover battle by a 2-to-1 count, but was penalized 13 times for 115 yards, while the hosts were sent back seven times for 60 yards.
Gallia Academy was led by Armstrong with 172 total yards and two touchdowns, combining 16 carries with five receptions. Briar Williams had 39 total yards on four carries and two catches, while Michael Beasy ran twice for five yards.
Trent Johnson hauled in three passes for 43 yards, Cameron Webb had two grabs for 19 yards, Belville added two receptions for 18 yards and a touchdown, while Kenyon Franklin caught one seven-yard pass.
Vanco completed 15-of-23 pass attempts for 213 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the win.
For Wellston, Jeremiah Frisby completed 16-of-28 passes for 201 yards and two touchdowns, to go with 26 yards on 18 carries. Jonathan Garvin had 108 total yards on 21 carries and two receptions for WHS, while Smith caught a game-best seven passes for 83 yards and a score.
GAHS is slated to host Fairland on Friday.
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Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.