Gallia Academy Blue Devils Kenyon Franklin, makes some extra yardage as Licking Valley’s Trent Clark moves in to make a tackle during the game at Memorial Field on Friday Oct. 28, 2022. (Kevin P. Casey I WOUB)

Gallia Academy survives upset trap against Licking Valley

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GALLIPOLIS, Ohio (WOUB) — The Gallia Academy Blue Devils hosted the Licking Valley Panthers for the first round of the OHSAA playoffs. The rivalry between the Blue Devils and the Panthers goes back to the 2018 playoffs, when the Panthers mauled the Blue Devils 36 to 12. 

Hungry to keep their title, Licking Valley set an early standard on the first drive. Theo Walsh played a key role in securing the first score of the game for the Panthers, furthering it more through a two point conversion.

The Blue Devils were not so quick on their toes, having to punt away their first possession. With this next drive, the Panthers would capitalize yet again at the hands of quarterback Hayden Rodgers and his right-hand-man Ayden Stainaker. 

It wasn’t until the second quarter that the Blue Devils got some wind under their wings and soared into the endzone. Hudson Shamblin played a key role in this, as it was his skill that scored the touchdown and his fierceness that secured the two-point conversion. 

With momentum back in the hands of the Blue Devils, the defense gave the Panthers no choice but to punt away their next possession. Brody Fellure buries the knife a bit deeper with a 52-yard run into the endzone, and with another successful two-point conversion by Stainaker, we have an even matchup. 

The Panthers offense remained flustered on the next drive, only able to carry three yards before having to punt once more. Fellure worked his magic yet again for the Blue Devils, carrying the ball 65 yards and into the Licking Valley endzone. 

With their heads held high and their chests puffed, the Blue Devils successfully managed and executed an onside kick to give them the ball at Licking Valley’s 30-yard line. Stainaker steals another six points for Gallia Academy, extending their lead. 

The Panthers were left with little time to react, but several consecutive incompletions gave them no choice but to punt once more. The teams headed into the locker room with Gallia Academy with 30 points and Licking Valley with 16 points. 

After starting the half at a deficit, the Panthers came out of the locker room baring their teeth. Walsh was able to lift the Panthers out of their two-score hole with two carries and two touchdowns, making it a tie game. 

It was a completion from Fellure to Kenyon Franklin that allowed the Blue Devils to pull ahead late into the third quarter. A flawless defensive line led by Isaac Clary sealed the deal for Gallia Academy, allowing zero scores by the Panthers and punching the Blue Devils a ticket to the next round. 

Key players that led the victory for the Blue Devils included Brody Fellure, who not only passed for 94 yards and one touchdown, but also rushed for 129-yards and two touchdowns to call his own. Shamblin mimicked this attitude, putting up 99 yards and two touchdowns as well. 

Gallia Academy goes on to face Indian Valley next Friday at 7 p.m..