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Portal shut out by Calvary Day

Portal shut out by Calvary Day

Portal shut out by Calvary Day


    PORTAL — For a quarter, it looked as though the Portal Panthers may be able to keep the game close against heavily favored Calvary.

But as the rain began to fall harder at the Portal Athletic Complex, the vaunted Cavalier offense struck for 20 points in 37 seconds early in the second quarter, putting the game away and from there cruised to a 30-0 win over the Panthers.

“They’re a good football team,” said Portal Head Coach David NeSmith. “We’re not quite there yet.”

The normally stout Panther (2-6-1, 2-3) defense gave up more than 300 yards of offense and was bitten by the big play several times early in the game.

Leading 3-0 early in the second quarter, Calvary’s (7-2, 5-0) Michael Peterson found Derek Kirkland open on the left sideline for a 31-yard strike to give the Cavaliers a 10-0 lead. Portal lost a fumble two plays later and the Cavaliers’ next play, Peterson was able to find Khaliq Hughes down the seam for a 19-yard touchdown pass.

On their ensuing possession, the Panthers fumbled the exchange on an end around and the Cavaliers pounced on the wet ball. Peterson found Kirkland again, this time along the right sideline, for a 27-yard strike to essentially put the game away at 23-0.

Following the Cavaliers’ third touchdown pass, NeSmith requested a running clock while the Panthers had the ball. In the second half, a running clock was used throughout the game.

Despite the offensive fireworks, the Cavaliers had issues holding on to the ball as they put the ball on the ground at least six times on the night. Unfortunately for the Panthers, they were only able to recover one of them.

“It seemed like every time they put the ball on the ground we weren’t able to get it,” NeSmith said.

The Panthers, meanwhile, put the ball on the ground four times, losing two of them.

Portal’s offense, which has struggled all season to find its rhythm, had their worst performance of the season against the swarming Calvary defense. The Panthers were only able to muster 39 yards rushing on 23 carries, a 1.7 yards-per-carry average.

In fact, Portal’s biggest offensive play of the game came on a botched punt when Chase Kirkland dropped the ball. When he picked it up, he was able to run up the middle for a 14-yard gain and one of Portal’s three first downs.

“I thought our kids were a little overmatched tonight and we tried to do some things out of character for us. We ran a couple of reverses and the ball was wet and we ended up putting it on the ground and we can’t do that,” NeSmith said.

While the loss that officially knocked Portal out of playoff contention, NeSmith said there is still a lot to play for in the team’s remaining game.

“For our seniors, this will be their last chance to ever play high school football. So we’re going to keep working hard and try to get ready for next week,” he said.

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