Price, Sossong light up scoreboard in win
PORTAGE — Quarterback Connor Price and running back Cole Sossong keyed a Portage rushing attack that rolled up over 400 yards in a season-opening 48-14 victory over Blacklick Valley on Friday night.
Sossong picked up a game-high 144 yards and one touchdown on 18 carries, while Price found the end zone four times on short-yardage runs as the junior signal-caller ran for 93 yards and threw for 42.
“We have a lot of young linemen and some new faces on offense,” Portage coach Gary Gouse said.
The Mustangs had to overcome a penalty and turnover-plagued first quarter before taking command of the contest.
“Once we worked through those typical first-game mistakes, we were able to control the ball,” Gouse said.
Portage (1-0) held the Vikings (0-1) in check for the entire first half, as the Mustang defense limited Blacklick Valley to just 21 total yards and no first downs while forcing three turnovers
“Our defense played well overall,” Gouse said. “We faced a good quarterback who made some nice throws, but we did what we had to do as far as getting pressure on him.”
The Viking offense got a spark in the second half as quarterback Corey Simmons threw for all but 17 of his 157 yards over the final two quarters while rushing for one score and throwing for another. Jude Gdula caught eight passes for 106 yards.
“That was a good football team we played, their program speaks for itself,” First-year Blacklick Valley coach Rich Price said. “I’m proud of our effort, our guys never quit. We made some halftime adjustments and got things going in the right direction.We have one of the best quarterbacks and some of the best skill guys in the conference and you saw what they were capable of.”
After an exchange of first-quarter turnovers, Portage broke the ice late in the period when Price finished a 12-play scoring drive with an 8-yard touchdown run and followed that with a conversion pass to Albert Koenigsberg for an 8-0 lead.
Sossong keyed a six-play, 65-yard touchdown drive for the Mustangs midway through the second quarter with back-to-back carries covering 32 yards. He capped off the series with a 7-yard score at the 4:45 mark. Koby Kargo’s first of three extra points made it 15-0.
The Mustangs were able to convert a turnover into a score before the break after Nick DeMatteis picked off a Simmons pass at the Viking 46. Six plays later, Gabe Forst took it in from eight yards out to give Portage a commanding 21-0 halftime advantage.
Blacklick Valley’s offense finally got going in the third. A 44-yard strike from Simmons to Gdula set up a 2-yard Simmons touchdown, and Gdula’s PAT cut the Viking deficit to 14.
However, it took Portage just five plays to answer as Price’s 2-yard touchdown made it 28-7.
The Vikings again battled back as Simmons completed four straight passes for 61 yards, including a 5-yard touchdown strike to Gdula.
Portage held serve, as a 26-yard run by Scott Berardinelli led to Price’s 2-yard keeper that put the Mustangs up 34-14 heading into the final quarter.
From there, Portage tacked on two more touchdowns to seal the outcome. Price’s fourth score, a 3-yard run at the 5:01 mark, was followed up on the next possession by a 52-yard sprint from Seth George that set the eventual final.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Blacklick Valley 0 0 14 0 — 14
Portage 8 13 13 14 — 48
P– Price 8 run (Koenigsberg pass from Price), 0:26.
P–Sossong 7 run (Kargo kick), 4:45.
P–Forst 6 run (kick failed), 1:08.
BV–Simmons 2 run (Gdula kick), 8:14.
P–Price 2 run (Kargo kick), 5:43.
BV–Gdula 5 pass from Simmons (Gdula kick), 4:22.
P–Price 2 run (kick failed), 1:15.
P–Price 3 run (Kargo kick), 5:01.
P–George 52 run (Claar kick), 3:34.
TEAM STATISTICS BV P
First downs 5 23
Total yards 133 470
Rushes-yards 19-(24) 61-428
Yards passing 157 42
Passing (comp.-att.-int.) 13-24-2 3-6-0
Punts-avg. 3-28 1-16
Fumbles-lost 2-1 2-2
Penalties-yards 7-82 10-83
RUSHING–Blacklick Valley, Simmons 8-(minus 3), Altimus 3-3, Thomas 2-(minus 1), Rager 1-(minus 1), TEAM 1-(minus 20), Napolitano 3-1, Fatula 1-(minus 3). Portage, Price 27-93, Sossong 18-144, Forst 6-29, George 4-80, Berardinelli 5-82, Kargo 1-0.
PASSING–Blacklick Valley, Simmons 13-24-2-157. Portage, Price 3-6-0-42.
RECEIVING–Blacklick Valley, Gdula 8-106, Altimus 3-30, DiPaolo 1-12, Thomas 1-9. Portage, Forst 2-32, Koenigsberg 1-10.