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Portal beats SEB in sloppy scrimmage

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Portal beats SEB in sloppy scrimmage

Portal's Jarrell Robinson catches a pass for a long gain against Southeast Bulloch during Thursday's scrimmage

            BROOKLET — A five yard scamper by Portal’s Steven Cox was the difference in a wet and windy defensive battle Thursday night as the Panthers defeated the Southeast Bulloch Yellow Jackets 7-0 in a scrimmage the week before the 2008 opening kickoff.

            The defense was the story for most of the three quarters played by the varsity squads as the teams combined for five turnovers. The Portal defense recovered two fumbles and Casey Ware picked off a wet ball after it slipped and ricocheted off the helmet of SEB fullback Deion Evans.

            For the Southeast defense, Blake Fulmer picked off a Nick Boggs pass and David Pollard scooped up a fumbled PHS snap.

            “It was a typical first-game scrimmage,” said Yellow Jackets coach John Kenny. “The defense was way ahead of the offense. We were sloppy, we put the ball on the ground, there were some missed assignments and there were some penalties. We stalled on a lot of drives. Early in the year, that stuff happens. You’ve got to get it out of your system and get ready for next week.”

            The SEB defense put together three fourth-down stops to go along with the turnovers. They prevented a Panther touchdown in the second quarter after PHS got the ball down to the six-yard line by forcing an incomplete pass, and stuffed the run on fourth-and-a-foot in the first.

            Penalties also killed the momentum for both teams. Portal had a touchdown taken away after freshman Corey Walker — on his first carry as a varsity football player — had a 15-yard run called back on a holding call. A Tharon Davis run that put the ball in the red zone for the Yellow Jackets was negated after a dead-ball personal foul.

            Fumbled snaps, poorly-timed exchanges, dropped interceptions and unsure footing were common for both squads on the wet field, and Kenny was glad to get his Jackets some experience in bad weather before the start of the season.

            “It was a worst-case scenario (but it was) a great time to have it,” said the SEB coach, “in a scrimmage where it doesn’t count so you can practice.”

            The 0-0 tie was broken midway through the third quarter.

            After Portal’s Casey Ware returned the second half’s opening kickoff to the Yellow Jacket 48, Joseph Ware, Walker and Cox helped work the ball down to the SEB 5-yard line with runs of 22, eight and 13 yards respectively.

            Cox sealed the deal when he lined up at quarterback, took the snap left, avoided a tackle with a spin and reversed the field, diving into the end zone for the game’s only score. His off-season injury was the last thing on his mind.

            “Steven came in and did an outstanding job,” said Portal coach Justin Chester. “You know, he has that groin issue, but it just seems like when he’s got that ball out on the field, it just leaves him. We’ll work with that, but he does bring a lot of excitement to our offense and defense.”

            Boggs took all of the first-half snaps at quarterback for Portal, while SEB sophomore DeArious Odum was under center all three quarters for the varsity Jackets.

            “We had some great spurts (on offense),” Kenny said. “(Odum) made some good throws and some bad throws, and he’ll only get better.”

            Boggs completed nearly all of his pass attempts for PHS. The highlight of his evening was when he connected with junior Jarrell Robinson on a 46-yard play.

            “We’d been running some leads most of the night, and we were hoping that we might catch Southeast playing up a little bit,” Chester said. “Jarrell did a good job running his route and Nick made a good ball over there, and what was even better was the ‘YAC’ —the yards after catch. That was nice.”

            Robinson broke two tackles and gained an extra 15 yards with a stiff arm.

            While both teams had success moving the football, they were frustrated that more drives did not end up with points on the board.   

            “The most frustrating thing (was) after two quarters, we still had a goose egg,” said Chester. “This is the kind of stuff where when you get into region play and subregion play, not putting the ball in the end zone can kill you. We know we’re not in mid-season shape so we’ve got to get out there on Monday, get back to the drawing board and work on that.”

            The Panthers kick off the 2008 season Friday at Metter, while Southeast Bulloch begins its grueling Region 3-AA schedule on the road against Dodge County. Both games begin at 7:30 p.m.


            Matt Yogus can be reached at (912) 489-9404.

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