VINCENT - Warren is hoping to make Portsmouth High's last football visit to Vincent a long, quiet bus ride back to Scioto County at the conclusion of Friday's scheduled 7:30 p.m. game.
The Trojans have announced that they will be departing the Southeastern Ohio Athletic League (SEOAL) following the 2014-15 academic year.
Visiting Portsmouth, of course, would like nothing better than to spoil Warren's chance of at least a share of the league crown.
Times file photo
Warren’s Jared Isner is tackle by an East Liverpool player during a game on Oct. 11. The Warriors are scheduled to host Portsmouth in a key SEOAL contest Friday night.
All the Warriors (3-5 overall, 1-1 SEOAL) have to do to accomplish this is beat the Trojans (2-6, 0-3) and then Logan the following week - just like they closed out the 2012 season.
First things first, though - Portsmouth.
"We are approaching this week the same way we did last week," said fourth-year Warren head coach Andy Schob. "Nothing will come easy, but we must fight on every play and continue to play together.
"In addition to league implications, this game is our senior night. We want to make sure this is a special night for our 17 seniors. If we play as hard, as excited, and together as last week, win or lose, it is the way they deserve to end their home football career."
Warren controls its own destiny, thanks to a stunning 31-21 upset of defending league champion Gallia Academy at Memorial Field in Gallipolis last Friday night. It was the first time the Warriors had defeated the Blue Devils in 15 years.
"We stressed all week that there are many things in life that we cannot control, and we have faith those things will be taken care of," Schob said. "While it would not be easy, our team still had complete control over many things and must aggressively attack those things to keep that control. Step one, was beat the defending league champions, because of that effort, we are still in complete control of our league title goal."
The royal blue and white win over the Blue Devils also halted a three-game slide.
"I was so proud of the team and players for the way they approached every play," Schob said. "Every player stayed focused and determined to do all that they could to make a difference, regardless what their role was. Our leaders did a great job and it was so loud on our sidelines and locker room, our Warriors definitely came to play, it made an awesome environment."
Warren running back Jared Isner was the spark, rushing for 149 yards on 24 carries and two touchdowns. Quarterback Austin Klintworth completed 10 of 16 throws for 182 yards and two TDs, and receiver Cole Wigal had four receptions for 82 yards and one score.
Klintworth also gained 75 yards on 14 attempts.
All in all, the Warriors amassed 458 total yards (299 rushing, 159 receiving) on offense.
"Our offensive and defensive lines played well and controlled the line of scrimmage," Schob said.
Warren should once again be able to move the chains and put points on the scoreboard as Portsmouth's defense has allowed 54, 55, and 26 points in its last three league games. The Trojans have dropped three in a row, including last week's 26-19 loss at Jackson, and five of its last six games.
Portsmouth could present some problems for Warren's defense, too, as quarterback Sky Oliver is very mobile. Against Jackson, he passed for 177 yards and two TDs, and also rushed for 101 yards on 14 carries and one score.
Johnnie Charles added 80 rushing yards on 10 attempts, and Khalil Lattimore and Isiaha Lisath each had a TD reception.
Lattimore finished with 50 yards on four catches.
"Portsmouth is probably the most athletic team in our league," Schob said. "They feature three returning All-SEOAL skill players in Charles, (Alex) Dickerson, and (Brandon) (Wedebrook, and Oliver is explosive at QB. With our lack of team speed, we will need to be very disciplined in assignments and tackle in space."