Pigskin Preview 2022 – Trojans don’t plan to change their style of play
Published 9:33 am Friday, September 2, 2022
PORTSMOUTH — Last season, the Portsmouth Trojans utilized the passing and running of quarterback Drew Roe and mixed in the running game. But Roe is gone, along with most of his receivers and some key linemen.
So, the Trojans plan this season is to, well, utilize their quarterback and mix in the running game.
“The goal of our offense is you can’t defend everything all at once, so we have to make sure our quarterback is making the right decision and throwing the ball where it needs to be,” said Trojans head coach Bruce Kalb.
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Making those decisions this season will be senior Tyler Duncan (5-11, 138), and Kalb has every bit of confidence in Duncan to be the leader of the offense.
“He’s not as shifty (as Roe), but what he lacks in shifty he makes up for in his knowledge of the game,” said Kalb. “He throws a good ball and his dad is a coach. This gives his dad (Aaron Duncan) a chance to teach the finer points of the game.”
Portsmouth was 8-4 last season and suffered some key losses, but there are enough skilled players and young talent to make the Trojans solid again this year.
Duncan took over in game 10 last season when Roe was injured in the first half. Duncan kept the Trojans in the game before Ironton pulled away in the second half. He then won the Trojans first playoff game but they lost in another tough game in the second round of the playoffs.
The backup is sophomore J.T. Williams (5-6, 139) whom Kalb said was in the same mold as Roe and that “his best attributes are his legs.”
Amare Johnson is gone, but senior Beau Hammond (5-8, 173) started several games last season and played extensively.
“He had a really good season. He slimmed down and got faster,” said Kalb.
Also in the backfield plans are senior Brenden Truett (5-6, 200) who gives the Trojans a power back.
“Brenden is a north/south runner. He grinds it out and gets you the tough yards,” said Kalb.
The H-back will be senior Jayden Duncan (5-10, 162), of whom Kalb said “we’ll move him around. He’s more of an H-back and he can step up and be our No. 2 or No. 3 receiver.”
Most of the receiving corps is gone except the dangerous senior Reade Pendleton (5-9, 164).
“We’re so glad to have him back,” said Kalb.
But there are others who lay claim to a starting job or are pushing for playing time.
The top candidates are junior Devon Lattimore (5-10, 152), senior Nolan Heiland (5-10, 156) who played at Portsmouth Notre Dame last season, as well a his younger brother Chase Heilland (5-8, 172), who is a sophomore, and junior Nathaniel Berry (6-1, 162).
“Lattimore stepped in at the end of last season and lit the world on fire,” said Kalb. “Berry is tall and gives us a big body target. The Heilands are learning those positions.”
After losing three of the starting five, one might be concerned. But Kalb said the current group on the offensive line “are a good group of young linemen coming up.”
Taking over at center will be sophomore Landen Boren (5-10, 238). He will be flanked by senior Amori Harmon (5-8, 200) on the right side and sophomore Dylan Sanderlin on the left side. Junior Leo Poxes (6-3, 252) will be the right tackle with senior Caden Scott (6-3, 252) a candidate.
We have young faces. There arena seniors.
“We have some young faces and some seniors,” said Poxes.
One player who will see some time as a backup at tackle is freshman Wesley Runyon (6-0, 324).
The offense is going to have to score some points and help out the Trojan defense which lost eight starters from last season’s team.
“I want the fastest kids on defense,” said Kalb of his defense.
The tackles will be Poxes who is a returning starter along with junior Levaughn Cobb (5-11, 183). Also in the rotation at both tackle spots is Harmon.
The ends will be a rotation between senior T.J. Debord (6-3, 160) and freshman Kaleb Johnson (5-11, 171) and Berry.
There’s no shortage of linebackers.
Hammond and and sophomore Dylan Sanderlin (5-11, 202) will be inside while Pendleton and Williams will work on the outside.
Look for junior Noah Livingston (6-2, 189).
Lattimore and Nolan Heilland should be the cornerbacks with Duncan waiting in the wings.
Senior Zach Roth (5–10, 168) has the experience and his brother Jacob (5-7, 141) is the backup.
Chase Heilland will handle placements.
Kalb said Ironton is the favorite again to take home the Ohio Valley Conference top trophy, but he said there are several teams who could challenge.
“Gallipolis has a lot of speed. Coal Grove has about everybody back and we could be a good team. But Ironton is still on top of the mountain until one of use knocks them down.