One big run, one big two-point conversion and one huge defensive effort ultimately allowed the South Gallia football team to pick up victory number one of the season during an 8-6 triumph over host Portsmouth Notre Dame in a Week 5 non-conference matchup in Scioto County.
The Rebels (1-4) became the first Gallia County team to claim victory on the gridiron this fall, doing so with some good ol’ fashioned determination and effort against the Titans (1-4).
In what was clearly a defensive struggle between the two teams, it was the Rebel offense — which had averaged just 4.5 points through the first four weeks of the season — that came up with the singular biggest drive of the evening.
After battling through a scoreless first half and most of the third quarter, the guests came up with three critical plays that allowed them to find the endzone just before the last canto.
SGHS quarterback Cory Haner completed his only two passes of the evening, one to Danny Matney for 19 yards and another to Brandon Harrison for 38 yards.
With under a minute left in the third period and possession at the Notre Dame 46-yard line, running back Austin Phillips broke free from the defense and scampered all the way to paydirt to give SGHS a 6-0 advantage.
The Rebels followed with another successful pass play, this time from Haner to Dalton Matney for the two-point conversion and an 8-0 advantage with 33.7 seconds left in the third.
Both teams traded possessions in the fourth before the Titans finally responded with a scoring drive of their own, marching 88 yards in six plays to pull with in two points after a 46-yard TD pass from Brock Hannah to Tyler Noel made it 8-6 with 2:24 left in regulation.
PND also went for the tying two-point conversion attempt, but the Rebels rose to the occasion and forced Hannah to throw an incompletion — preserving South Gallia’s first-ever win over the Titans on the gridiron.
Portsmouth Notre Dame out-gained SGHS by a 295-184 margin in total offense, but it was the Rebels who controlled the ground game.
South Gallia churned out 127 rushing yards on 36 carries, an average of 3.5 yards per carry. PND mustered only 76 rushing yards on 28 totes, an average of 2.7 yards per attempt.
Phillips — who was held to negative-nine yards rushing on his six other attempts — led the Rebels with seven carries for 37 yards. Bryce Clary was next with 35 yards on nine carries, while Logan Wamsley had 11 totes for 26 yards.
Haner finished the night 2-of-7 passing for 57 yards, throwing zero touchdowns or interceptions.
Hadjiyannis led PND with 56 rushing yards on 20 carries, while Lewis added 14 yards on two attempts.
Hannah finished the evening 16-of-30 passing for 219 yards and a TD pass, but did throw two interceptions in the setback.
Noel led the wideouts with 134 receiving yards on five catches, followed by Hadjiyannis with four grabs for 32 yards.
The Rebels return to action Friday night when they host Fairfield Christian Academy (1-4) in a Week 6 non-conference matchup at Rebel Field. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.