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Portal meets Claxton in region 3-A showdown

    PORTAL — The Portal Panthers are still trying to get in the win column for the first time this season, and it will be no easy task as they travel to the Pecan Grove to take on the Claxton Tigers.
    Claxton (1-6, 1-2 Region 3-A) picked up its first win at homecoming two weeks ago against Jenkins County, and last week, the offense was clicking as they put up 21 points against region powerhouse Emanuel County Institute.
    The matchup will pit two similar offenses against each other. While the Panthers will focus on the option, the Tigers look to use their split backs and fullback to run some misdirection while focusing on fullback Jamalcolm Morgan, who racked up 243 yards on the ground in the CHS homecoming win.
    Portal (0-6, 0-2) has been focusing on perfecting their triple-option offense and limiting turnovers. The 24 turnovers this season have not helped out Portal’s record.
    If PHS hopes to make the playoffs for the fourth straight year, they are in a must-win situation.
    “The heat is on,” said Panther coach Justin Chester. “(The seniors) have gone to the playoffs all three years of high school up to this point, and they don’t want that trend to break. They’d like to make sure they can look back and be the first class ever in Portal history to make it to the playoffs all four years. They still have a shot.”
    The coaches have pulled out all of the stops, running drills to limit turnovers and buckling down on the linemen, too.
    “Defensive line coach (Bo) Fordham went out and got some PVC pipe and some screen,” said Chester, “and we built a hand made shoot with a top on it that helps keep our linemen low. We’ve done everything we can as a coaching staff to figure our weakness out and just find a way to get better.”
    With just four Region games left, including ECI, Portal will have to start turning things around at Claxton for tonight’s 7:30 p.m. kickoff.

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

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