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Portal ends on a high note

Portal ends on a high note

Portal ends on a high note


            PORTAL – If what they say is true and “all’s well that ends well,” than all is certainly well in Portal.

            After losing six-straight games to start the season, the Panthers won three of their last four, including a 47-21 track meet against the Bryan County Redskins in the season finale Friday at home.

            “The coaches have done a great job of keeping this team together,” said first-year head coach Cherard Freeman. “To finish up with two wins back-to-back was great for this program and for this school. Considering our record over the previous years, it’s a great stepping stone for our kids and our program.”

            It was the first time the Panthers (3-7) won consecutive games since winning three straight in October of 2006.

            Portal held a 20-7 lead at halftime, and the final 24 minutes proved to be entertaining.

            The second half featured four turnovers, a 76-yard kick return for touchdown by the Redskins (0-10), a 44-yard interception return for TD by Portal’s Corey Reese, and a lot of scoring.

            Bryan closed the second-half gap to 20-14 when Jaquez Page scored on the ground from six yards out, but the rest of the BCHS offense came through the air.

            Quarterback Jacob White passed for 209 yards and a pair of scores, but on the other side of the ball, Portal ran wild.

            Quarterback Hunter Oglesby (23-132) and running back Corey Walker (9-108, 2 TD) each rushed for over 100 yards, and Walker added an interception return in the first half for a three-touchdown day.

            All told, the Panthers racked up 387 yards on the ground.

            Portal ran the ball at will in the first half, stopped only by a fumble and a single three-and-out.

            The Panthers opened the scoring on the game’s first drive, marching 64 yards on eight plays, and the first play of the drive set the tone, as Walker ran 23 yards around the corner to get things started.

            Carl Smith took an option pitch around the right side from seven yards out to give PHS a 7-0 after the successful extra point by Joe Locket.

            The Panthers’ defense held Bryan to a three-and-punt on its first drive, and it was more of the same for the PHS offense. This time, it was Oglesby doing a bulk of the work. He accounted for four of the nine carries on the second scoring drive, including runs of 20 and 17 yards.

            The series looked to stall on the BCHS 1-yard line after an eight-yard loss on a fumbled pitch, but an offsides penalty on the Redskins put Portal back in striking distance, and Smith scored again on the exact-same play to the same side as the last touchdown run, this time with Oglesby pitching to Smith from four yards out.

            “This offense is a very difficult offense to learn,” said Freeman. “[Oglesby] has done a great job and I’m expecting big things out of him and our offensive line next year. We’re only losing three players, so we’re excited.”

            The Panthers fumbled on their next drive and punted after that, but then it was back to work. Only this time, it was the defense doing the scoring.

            Just when it looked like the Redskins were putting something together, Walker picked off a White pass and returned it 95 yards for a 20-0 Portal lead.

            White finally struck back, completing a pair of passes on the ensuing Bryan County drive, including a 43-yard scoring strike to Dixon to leave the Redskins trailing 20-7 at halftime.

            “You go through some things on the football field, and it leads to life,” said Freeman. “A football game is a lot like life. Sometimes you’re going to come through adversity. We started off 0-6, and the guys really fought hard. I’m proud of them.

 

            Matt Yogus can be reached at (912) 489-9408.

 

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