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Tigers fall to Trojans in shootout

Portsmouth quarterback Drew Roe completed several big passes against Marietta Saturday at Don Drumm Stadium.

It was his 8-yard run late in the fourth quarter, though, that secured the 34-28 victory for the Trojans.

Facing a 3rd-and-8 with 2:30 left in the game and the Tigers out of timeouts, Roe kept the ball and went right with it, dodged a tackle, cut back to midfield and dove for the first down to seal the deal. That run put his rushing total up to 31 yards on the day, but it was through the air where he did most of his damage. The junior completed 25 of 34 pass attempts for 373 yards and four touchdowns. He was picked off once by Bryson Chavez.

“He’s the straw that stirs the drink so to speak,” said Portsmouth head coach Bruce Kalb. “We talk about the touchdowns, we talk about the runs, we talk about the great passes, but I saw him emerge as a leader on the field tonight. I saw my quarterback grow into that role as a leader of the offense and a leader of this team.”

Marietta head coach Jason Schob, whose Tigers dropped to 2-6 on the year, was impressed with what the Portsmouth QB was able to do.

“We knew he was pretty special,” Schob said. “We knew coming in (Portsmouth) just took Gallia, who’s still in the playoffs in Division IV, into overtime two weeks ago. We knew they had a lot of talent and they were a good team.”

Marietta’s quarterback, Reece Gerber, had a big game, too. Gerber led all rushers with 143 yards on 20 carries. His 13-yard touchdown run got things started, putting the Tigers up 7-0 at the 4:07 mark in the first.

Portsmouth (2-6) responded quickly on its ensuing possession, as Roe hit Dariyonne Bryant on a 64-yard bomb for a touchdown.

The extra point was off the upright to make it 7-6 at the 3:13 mark.

Marietta got the ball back and Gerber completed a 46-yard pass Tyson Shaffer to get the ball to the Portsmouth 18, but the Tigers ended up turning it over on downs. Portsmouth then drove to Marietta’s 38, but on a 4th-and-7 play, Zane Wittekind sacked Roe to give the Tigers the ball back in good field position.

Marietta methodically drove the ball down the field, using 12 plays to go 54 yards for a touchdown on Tony Munos’ 6-yard run. Dylan Meagle’s extra point made it 14-6 with 9:32 to go in the first half.

Portsmouth went to work, with Roe hitting Chris Duff on a 38-yard pass before eventually finding Duff again from 2 yards out for a touchdown. Roe connected with Reade Templeton on the two-point conversion to tie the game at 14-all at the 6-minute mark.

On Marietta’s next drive, Gerber was picked off by Christian Keys to give Portsmouth the ball at Marietta’s 47. Duff caught a 37-yard pass to set up 1st-and-goal before Amare Johnson found paydirt on a 4-yard carry to give the Trojans their first lead, 20-14, with 2:49 left before halftime.

Marietta then went three-and-out, but Bryson Chavez picked off Roe to give the Tigers a chance to score before the break. Gerber ran for 9 yards before completing a 27-yard pass to Munos. Munos then ran for 11 yards to the Portsmouth 13, but two passes into the end zone fell incomplete to send the game to halftime.

Marietta’s failure to score before the half proved costly, as Portsmouth got the ball to start the third quarter and capitilized quickly. Bryant caught his second touchdown pass of the day, this time a 41-yarder from Roe, to make it 26-14.

Gerber started the ensuing drive with a 16-yard run to get the ball to midfield. He later converted a 4th-and-1 with a 2-yard gain before handing to Zach Bartlett for a 2-yard rushing touchdown to cut it 26-21 with 7:03 to go in the third.

Portsmouth got all the way inside Marietta’s 10 on its next drive, but on 4th-and-4, Johnson was stopped inches short of getting the first down to give Marietta the ball back. The Trojans, too, came up with a big fourth down stop on the ensuing drive to set their offense up at Marietta’s 26-yard line. This time they cashed in, with Roe finding Donnie Carr on a 6-yard TD strike. Roe then found Johnson in the end zone for the two-point conversion to make it 34-21 with 11:52 left in the game.

Marietta fumbled the ball away on its next drive, but the defense stopped the Trojans and forced them into their first punt try of the game. The snap went over Roe’s head, though, and when he corraled it and turned to punt, Carson Urban was there to block it, giving Marietta the ball at Portsmouth’s 42. Gerber completed passes of 14 and 11 yards to Donavon Wheeler and Shaffer, respectively, before finding Munos on a 5-yard touchdown pass. Meagle’s kick made it 34-28 with 4:14 to go in the game.

That was the last time Marietta’s offense had the ball, though. The Tigers kicked it away and, on the backs of Johnson and Roe, Portsmouth converted a pair of third downs into first downs to drain the clock. Roe’s 8-yard scamper on 3rd-and-8 set up victory formation for the Trojans.

“If we get a stop I think we go down and score and we win the game,” Schob said. “Unfortunately we didn’t get that stop.

“It was a game of momentum a little bit. There were some times where they had a little momentum and there were times we battled back and had the momentum. We just need to be able to finish drives and get stops in key situations. Unfortunately we weren’t able to do that tonight.”

Roe completed passes to seven different receivers in the game. Bryant led the way with 107 yards on three catches, and he also had an interception in the first quarter. Duff added 90 yards on five receptions, while Pendleton finished with 68 yards on seven grabs. Johnson was Portsmouth’s leading rusher with 45 yards on 14 carries.

“We’ve had a lot of tough games this year,” Kalb said. “I told my kids this is going to be a dogfight. Bigger school, we’re coming in, two-and-a-half hour drive. Our kids stayed with it for four quarters. When they needed to come up with stops, they came up with stops. When we needed to move the ball and get the first down, they got the first down.”

Gerber completed 12 of 25 passes for 150 yards. He was picked off twice. Shaffer finished with 94 yards on six catches while Munos had 48 yards on five receptions. Munos also carried eight times for 60 yards, and on defense he stripped the ball away from Duff to halt a promising Portsmouth drive in the first quarter.

“When we gameplanned this week, it was like, ‘We can’t let (Munos) beat us,'” Kalb said. “We knew the explosive ability he had. We made sure we had eyes on him and knew where he was lining up. Hats off to my defensive coordinator, Bo Mayo, who did a good job gameplanning for that.”

Marietta accumulated 387 yards of total offense to Portsmouth’s 421.

“We made too many mistakes,” Schob said. “That’s sort of been our thing this year, unfortunately. We’ve had a lot of games that have come down to the wire and the ball hasn’t bounced our way.”

Jordan Holland can be reached at jholland@mariettatimes.com.

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