Senators hold on in back and forth SOC showdown

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BEVERLY, Ohio (WOUB)- The good news about this powerhouse matchup being delayed a day is that it gets to stand on its own as the only high school game being played in the area, and it lived up to the hype at the end. 

But at the beginning, it was a little slow. The only points in the first quarter came on a Portsmouth West drive that stalled inside the red zone and resulted in a field goal. 

However, it seemed like that field goal really opened up the scoring for both teams as the ensuing drive saw the Tigers find their stride on offense. After a long drive got them into the scoring range, Mason Kelly found a wide-open Kody Swords for the first touchdown of the game. 

Then just 12 seconds later, Portsmouth West put their first touchdown on the board as Jeffery Bishop showed his elite athleticism as he took the kickoff all the way to the house to put the Senators back in the lead 10-7. 

The rest of the first half would show both teams moving the ball, but just unable to put any points on the board, and the 10-7 score would hold until halftime. 

In the second half of this game, one specific matchup absolutely took over the show. That matchup was between the Tigers’ Kody Swords and the Senators’ Jeffery Bishop. And Bishop won the first battle as he got his first of four, yes four, picks after ripping the ball away from Swords on an out route. 

Bishop would follow that up with a touchdown on the very next play as he got behind the defense and scored from 29 yards out. 

Don’t hold your breath too long though, because just about 10 seconds later, Bishop caught another unbelievable interception over Swords on the sideline. It seemed like Swords had just about enough at that point. After a stop by the Waverly defense, Kelly would target Swords again against Bishop and it resulted in a 42 yard touchdown to make the score 17-14 Senators early in the fourth quarter. 

Then the very next play from scrimmage, we take a short break from the Swords-Bishop rivalry, as Senator quarterback Cole Tipton finds a hole off the left side and takes it 48 yards to the endzone to push the Portsmouth West lead back to double digits. 

That two score lead would only hold for so long however, because Jase Hurd would fully introduce himself to the Senator defense with a long rushing touchdown to shrink the lead back to three at 24-21 with just 4:58 left in the game. 

Now in clutch time for the Tigers they would turn the ball over two times on two consecutive drives, including yes, another Bishop interception, but also a back breaking Jase Hurd fumble with just 1:40 on the clock.

But the game wouldn’t end there. A clutch three and out for the Tiger offense would get their team the ball back with no timeouts and just over a minute remaining. Mason Kelly and the Waverly offense would march down the field due in part to a 15-yard facemask penalty that would put them near the Senator ten yard line. 

And with the game on the line, Kelly would look to his best weapon in Kody Swords in the endzone. Only problem, Swords was blanketed by Jeffery Bishop who came up with his fourth pick to end the game. 

While Bishop didn’t have a huge standout game on the offensive side of the ball only accruing five yards on the ground and 32 yards in the air. He absolutely made his presence felt on defense and on special teams giving Swords a very tough time, and sparking the Portsmouth West team with a kick return touchdown. 

After an electric first week of SOC play for these teams, the Senators put themselves in a good spot knocking off a very dangerous conference title contender in the Waverly Tigers, but there is still a long way to go for both teams. 

Portsmouth West will host Minford next week in another very important matchup for the Senators, while Waverly will find themselves at Oak Hill looking to get back in the win column.