Portsmouth ready to reload with sights set on D-IV postseason

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Portsmouth Trojans

After reaching the playoffs with an 8-2 record and a senior-laden football team, Portsmouth would usually be looking at a rebuilding year the next season.  But for the Trojans, 2008 is more of a youth movement than a rebuilding year.  Led by a pair of highly-touted Division 1 prospects up front, the blue and red should be one of the more formidable teams in Southeastern Ohio. 


PLAYERS TO WATCH

TE/DE Nate Cadogan (6-7, 265, SR), OT/DT John Prior (6-6, 280, SR), QB/LB Josh Myers (6-1, 190, Soph), RB Angelo Jackson (5-8, 185, Soph), WR Malik White (5-11, 165, SR), Forrest Johnson (5-11, 165, JR), ILB Aaron Montgomery (5-10, 210, SR), OLB Jason James (6-0, 200, SR), CB Andrew Bendolph (5-10, 150, Soph), FS London Malone (5-10, 150, JR), WR/DB Jon Royster (5-10, 155, Soph)

SEASON OUTLOOK

2007 Record: 8-3, Regional Quarterfinalist

After reaching the playoffs with an 8-2 record and a senior-laden football team, Portsmouth would usually be looking at a rebuilding year the next season.  But for the Trojans, 2008 is more of a youth movement than a rebuilding year.  Led by a pair of highly-touted Division 1 prospects up front, the blue and red should be one of the more formidable teams in Southeastern Ohio. 

Last season, Southeastern Ohio Athletic League South division MVP Shane Porter gained nearly 300 yards of total offense and threw 19 touchdowns while rushing for another eight.  But amazingly, if you talk to folks in Portsmouth, they believe highly touted sophomore Josh Myers (6-1, 190) can be even better.

Myers will direct the Trojans spread attack where he will get the opportunity to work behind senior tackle John Prior (6-6, 280) and senior tight end Nate Cadogan (6-7, 265).  Prior, a recent verbal to Florida State missed half of last season due to injury but bounced back strong to impress coaches from Indiana, West Virginia, NC State, as well as most of the MAC. 

Cadogan will join his brother Gerald at Penn State.  Cadogan was mainly a defensive player the last two seasons, but also sees time at tight end and projects as a tackle at the next level.

Joining Myers in the backfield will be sophomore Angelo Jackson (5-8, 175), a speedy back who can be a difference maker once he gets into the secondary.  Classmate Jon Royster (5-10, 155) and juniors Patrick Underwood (6-2, 160) and Jalen Kennedy (5-10, 180) add depth at running back.

Most importantly, the Trojans return two of the top receivers in southern Ohio.  Senior Malik White (5-11, 165) returns after catching 44 passes for 577 yards and 4 touchdowns to lead PHS a year ago while junior Forrest Johnson (5-11, 170) was third on the team with 35 catches a year ago, and second in yards and touchdowns with 768 and 7 respectively.

Defensively, Portsmouth will be rebuilding after an up and down 2007 campaign.  In the Trojans 7 wins, they allowed only 12 points per game.  But in their 3 losses, the Trojans allowed 56 points to Zanesville, 61 to Logan, and 42 in their playoff loss to Licking Heights.  They will need to improve, despite the loss of 7 starters, if they expect to bring home an SEOAL or Region 15 championship.

Cadogan will anchor the Trojans 4-4 defensive front with help from seniors Prior and David Porter (6-0, 320), junior Jordan James (5-10-210), and sophomores Sanders and Brown.

In the linebacking corps, junior Jason James (6-0, 200) and senior Aaron Montgomery (5-10, 210) are returning starters at outside and inside linebacker respectively.  Myers, Kennedy, and Crumm along seniors David Mallory (5-10, 180) and Ryan Jordan (6-0, 175) add depth to the linebacking corps.

In the secondary, sophomore Andrew Bendolph (5-10, 150) and junior London Malone (5-10, 150) are returning starters at cornerback and free safety respectively.  Royster, Underwood, and senior Storm Bratchett (5-10, 165) will also see time in the backfield.

Portsmouth opens with a tough stretch after their week one match-up with South Point that sees them go to Portsmouth West, Wheelersburg, and Jackson in consecutive weeks.  If the Trojans can stay healthy, they should be in good shape by the time Chillicothe comes to Spartan Stadium.  The Trojans do not play defending SEOAL champion Logan in 2008 and plays both the Cavaliers and Ironton at home, putting them in position to possibly win their first SEOAL championship since 1926.  Coming close to the championship should put PHS in the playoffs for the second straight season.

SCHEDULE

Aug. 22 – South Point
Aug. 29 – @ Portsmouth West
Sept. 5 – @ Wheelersburg
Sept. 12 – @ Jackson *
Sept. 19 – Chillicothe *
Sept. 26 – @ Gallia Academy *
Oct. 3 – Warren *
Oct. 10 – Ironton *
Oct. 17 – @ Marietta *
Oct. 24 – Western Brown
* = SEOAL Game

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