GALLIPOLIS, Ohio — The Gallia Academy Blue Devils made some tremendous strides in the first half, but ultimately fell short against visiting Marietta Friday night in a Week 4 non-conference match-up at Memorial Field by a final score of 21-12.
The Tigers (3-1) did not waste any time, using only two plays on their first drive to score as Dominic Vanfossen ran for a 36-yard touchdown. With the PAT by Ben Dehmlow, Marietta took the lead of 7-0 at the 10:33 mark into the first quarter.
With 5:47 left in the first quarter, GAHS (0-4) used five minutes of the clock and marched down the field. Kole Carter ran a two-yard touchdown and a pass-failed two-point conversion, the Blue Devils trailed the Tigers 7-6 by the end of the first quarter.
In the second quarter, the Blue Devils’ defense stepped up tremendously as MHS fumbled the pigskin twice and Colton Campbell caught an interception from the Tigers’ Trent Dawson.
With 5:22 remaining in the first half, Kole Carter connected a 39-yard touchdown pass to Devin Henry and another pass-failed two-point conversion, the Blue and White took the lead 12-7 into the locker room at halftime.
With 3:41 remaining in the third quarter, Isaac Danford returned a 55-yard punt return and a successful PAT by Ben Dehmlow allowed Marietta to regain the lead at 14-12 by the end of the third quarter.
With 9:52 remaining in the game, Trent Dawson of MHS ran for a four-yard touchdown and a successful PAT by Ben Dehmlow allowed the Tigers to push the lead to 21-12.
Gallia Academy had numerous attempts to get back into the ball game, but the Blue and White couldn’t convert on fourth downs and couldn’t capitalized on Marietta’s two loss of downs. The Blue Devils tried to take the football down the field, but ultimately had to accept their fate as the Tigers won by a 21-12 count.
“I thought that we came out and played pretty well in the first half. We kept the mistakes to a few, which is something we really need to do,” GAHS coach Josh Riffe said following the game. “We took advantage with the few turnovers Marietta had. In the second half, we dug ourselves in a hole, a couple costly penalties. We turned the ball over a few times, the things you can’t do if you want to win a football game.
“It kind of feels like a memo for our season. We have a tendency to play really well in one half, and up to this point, has been really well in the second half. You just can’t shoot yourself in the foot against a really good team”.
Kole Carter led the Blue and White in passing with 10-of-30 for 224 yards, as well as having 20 carries for 80 yards. Eric Ward had six carries for 17 yards.
Matt Bailey led the Blue Devils in receiving with four receptions for 119 yards. Devin Henry had four receptions for 74 yards and one touchdown. Eric Ward had two carries for 31 yards.
The Blue Devils had a total of 321 yards of offense, 13 first downs, and seven penalties for 70 yards.
Marietta’s Trent Dawson led the Tigers in passing after gping 7-of-13 for 66 yards. Dominic Vanfossen led MHS in rushing with 32 carries for 205 yards.
Isaac Danford led Marietta in receiving with five receptions for 57 yards. Travis Moore had two receptions for nine yards. The Tigers had a total of 291 yards of offense, 16 first downs, and five penalties for 59 yards.
Gallia Academy will return back to Memorial Field on Friday when it hosts the Point Pleasant Big Blacks in the Battle of the Bridge at 7 p.m.
J.P. Davis is a sports correspondent for Ohio Valley Publishing.