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Panthers host Savannah Christian

Panthers host Savannah Christian

Panthers host Savannah Christian

    PORTAL — After another close loss last Friday to Claxton, the Portal Panthers are looking to right the ship tonight as they host sub-region foe Savannah Christian.
    The Raiders (2-3-1, 0-2) come in having lost three consecutive games, including their own close loss to Claxton, 28-21, two weeks ago.
    “They’re just two years removed from winning a state championship, so there’s some tradition in that program,” said Panthers coach David Nesmith. “They’re going to be well-coached. Coach (David) Chumley always does a good job with his kids.”
    The last time Savannah Christian lost four consecutive games was in 2003 when they lost five straight to close out the season.
    Portal (1-4-1, 1-1) will once again rely on its defense as they continue to hope the Panther offense can get going. In three games this season, the Panther defense has held their opponent to one or no touchdowns.
    Nesmith has been pleased with the defensive performance of his team this season. Led by defensive tackle Jamison Mikell and linebacker Trent Thomas, it’s been their defense that has kept the Panthers in all of their games this season.
    Offensively, however, Portal has continued to struggle in averaging less than 12 points per game on the season.
    “We’ve got to get things fixed and we need to get them fixed quickly,” Nesmith said. “On our offensive line, we’ve got to make sure we’re blocking the right person and not missing assignments. We’re young up front with two freshmen and a sophomore on our offensive line and we’re going to take our lumps along the way, but at some point in time we have to get better.”
    Nesmith said Savannah Christian will run the triple option out of the pistol formation on offense. He praised their offensive line play as being key to the Raiders’ success. Senior quarterback Brandon Thomas directs the Raiders attack as he leads the team in both passing yards, 357, and rushing yards, 210.
    Defensively, the Raiders come in to tonight’s contest giving up an average of nearly 17 points per game, including 65 in their last two games.  They will come out in four, five or six man fronts and try to confuse the Panther offense. Nesmith said the multiple formations allows the Raiders to make some big plays, but also can leave the susceptible to giving up the big play as well.
    Portal will continue to grind it out on the ground with their multitude of running backs in their spread option attack.
    Last week, five different Panthers carried the ball at least twice. 
    “They know their backs are against the wall and ours our too. We need this game badly and they’re thinking the same thing,” Nesmith said.
    Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m., at the Portal Athletic Complex.

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