GALLIPOLIS, Ohio — The Blue Devils had no problem fitting a whole game’s worth of production into a single half.
With thunderstorms surrounding Memorial Field, the Gallia Academy football team had Friday’s season-opening contest called at halftime, leaving the Blue Devils a 41-0 victory over Ohio Valley Conference guest South Point.
GAHS (1-0, 1-0 OVC) — celebrating senior night prior to the game — needed just 48 seconds and three plays to find the end zone, with James Armstrong breaking a 55-yard run down the sideline for six points. Caleb Geiser made his first of five point-after kicks, giving the hosts a 7-0 lead.
The Blue Devil defense forced a three-and-out its first time on the field, with Coen Duncan recording a third-down sack 11 yards in the backfield.
Armstrong returned the ensuing punt to the end zone, but a penalty took the score off the board. GAHS was backed up twice more on false start penalties, but once the Blue Devils got in sync, they needed just five plays to get the score back. GAHS senior Noah Vanco tossed a 35-yard touchdown pass to Daunevyn Woodson with 6:55 left in the first quarter, giving the hosts a 13-0 edge.
SPHS (0-1, 0-1) picked up two first downs on its next drive, one via penalty and one via pass, and pinned the Blue Devils back to their own five-yard line with a punt at the 3:17 mark of the quarter.
After gaining two dozen yards over a trio of carries, Gallia Academy went back to the air and back to the end zone. This time it was Briar Williams on the receiving end of a 71-yard touchdown pass from Vanco, giving the hosts a 20-0 advantage with 2:06 left in the first.
South Point’s next drive — which was interrupted by a 30-minute lightning delay with 28 seconds left in the opening quarter — included three first downs, two on penalties and one on a run. However, the drive was stalled after a first down sack by Zack Hemby sent the guests back eight yards. The punt three plays later gave GAHS the ball on its own 16.
A 67-yard touchdown was called back because of a penalty on the third play of the drive, but the Blue and White ended up in the end zone four plays later anyway. GAHS senior Michael Beasy delivered the score on an eight-yard run, making the Blue Devil lead 27-0 with 7:59 left in the first half.
Next, the Pointers went three-and-out, but forced a turnover on downs to get the ball back at their own 49.
The guests made it into Blue Devil territory, and went for it on fourth down, but a group sack by Duncan, Trent Johnson and Collin Watson got the ball back for Gallia Academy.
Four consecutive run plays carried the Blue Devils all the way from their own 41 to the end zone, with Armstrong delivering the points on a nine-yard touchdown run with 2:53 left in the half.
A 15-yard penalty after the extra-point put the Blue Devils on the SPHS side of the field to kick off, and GAHS took advantage. Geiser recovered his own on-side kick, and the Gallia Academy offense set up for what turned out to be its final drive of the night with 32 yards to paydirt.
A 30-yard pass on fourth down pass from Vanco to Woodson put the Blue Devils within a yard of the goalline, and Beasy punched in to make the hosts’ lead 41-0 with 52 seconds left in the half.
After the ensuing kickoff, lightning returned to the skies and the teams were sent to their locker rooms. A few minutes later, it was announced that the game had been called final, with Gallia Academy winning 41-0.
For the game, Gallia Academy held a 418-to-52 advantage in total offense, backing the Pointers up 12 yards on the ground. The Blue Devils had a 16-to-5 advantage in first downs, but were flagged eight times for a total of 65 yards, while SPHS was sent back five times for 55 yards.
Vanco completed 10-of-14 pass attempts for 211 yards and two touchdowns, and gained four yards on his only carry of the game. Armstrong had 151 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries, to go with one 12-yard reception, while Beasy ran six times for 52 yards and two scores, and picked up two yards on his only catch.
Woodson hauled in a game-best four passes for 73 yards and a touchdown in the win. Williams caught two passes for 89 yards and a score, while Kenyon Franklin and Zach Belville had a reception apiece, gaining 24 and 11 yards respectively.
For South Point, Malik Pegram was 4-of-10 for 64 yards, completing two passes for 35 yards to Cody Brandt, and two passes for 29 yards to Bryson Hackworth. T.J. Wong led the Pointers on the ground with four yards on two totes.
Next Friday, Gallia Academy invades Ironton, which topped Portsmouth 50-9 in Week 1.
© 2020 Ohio Valley Publishing, all rights reserved.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.