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Late TD lifts Portal over Montgomery

Late TD lifts Portal over Montgomery

Late TD lifts Portal over Montgomery


    PORTAL — Trailing by five with 5:45 remaining, Portal needed to go 80 yards to score the go-ahead touchdown in the Panthers’ final game of the season.
    Head Coach David NeSmith told his players before the possession they had a little more than five minutes to win the game and to continue fighting as they had all game.
    Two runs for 55 yards by Casey Jones and then a 15-yard run by Fred Holloway gave the Panthers a first-and-goal at the 10, and it looked as though the Panthers cruise into the end zone. However, a short loss on first down and a holding penalty on second down put the Panthers 22 yards away from the end zone.
    Fortunately for the Panthers, a face-mask call against Montgomery County gave Portal a second chance and, two plays later, Jones took a toss around the left side, cut back through the middle and scored to give the Panthers a 15-12 win.
    “We just kept persevering and kept fighting and were able to come through in the end when we needed to,” NeSmith said following the game.
    With the win, Portal finished its season at 3-6-1, while the Montgomery County Eagles fell to 1-9 on the year.
    The Eagles dominated time of possession in running 57 offensive plays, while the Panthers only ran 37. However, time and time again, the Panthers were able to stop the Eagles’ offense when they needed to, only giving up two touchdowns on the night.
    As was the case for most of the season, Portal’s offense started slowly, turning the ball over on just its third snap of the game when Holloway fumbled following a 10-yard run to give Montgomery County the ball at the Panther 46 yard line.
    But like it has done so many times throughout the season, the Portal defense was able to step up and keep the Eagles from capitalizing, forcing a punt.
    The Eagles were able to break through midway through the second quarter on a 68-yard drive that was aided by an untimely face-mask penalty on the Panthers. Junior running back Paul Legrant took advantage following the penalty and ran in from 31 yards out to put the Eagles ahead 6-0. However, the Panthers were able to block the extra point.
    Portal responded on its next possession when quarterback Evan Street found Marquis Wells over the middle. From there, Wells split two defenders and outraced the secondary to the corner of the end zone for the score. Jannis Buchner’s extra point put the Panthers ahead 7-6.
    Following a Portal turnover to start the third quarter, the Eagles went 34 yards on seven plays, aided again by two Panther penalties, to go ahead 12-7. Montgomery County’s two-point conversion failed, which kept the lead at five.
    With 7:47 remaining in the game, it looked as though the Eagles might put the game out of reach following a 54-yard run by Legrant down to the Panther 15. From there, the Portal defense tightened and, on fourth-and-12, Wells intercepted a pass in the end zone to set up Portal’s winning drive.

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