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Portal pounds Jenkins County

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Posted: November 11, 2006 12:10 a.m.
Updated: November 19, 2006 5:00 a.m.
    MILLEN — The Portal Panthers came into Friday night's matchup with the Jenkins County Eagles with nothing to prove. A playoff spot already secured, the Panthers could do no worse than the No. 3 seed in region 3-A regardless of the outcome.
    That didn't stop Portal on this night however, as they plowed through the Eagles by a score of 47-22.
    The Panther offense went to work from the opening kickoff, marching 74 yards in the first three minutes of play and taking an early 6-0 lead.
    Not to be outdone, the Portal defense intercepted a pass on the Eagles' first play from scrimmage, handing the ball right back to the offense.
    Portal seized the momentum it would never relinquish on the very next play. Senior quarterback Brandon Mock found receiver Ryan Williams deep down the sideline. Williams outran the Jenkins County secondary for a 66 -yard strike and a 13-0 lead less than five minutes into the game.
    "I liked the way that we were able to jump out in front early," said Portal head coach Justin Chester after the game. "Our offense was clicking on all cylinders and looked good all night. I'm very proud of our effort."
    The Panthers would put this one to bed early in the second quarter. Mock threw his second touchdown pass, and two short touchdown runs stretched the lead to 33-0 before the Eagles finally pushed one across, barely beating the halftime whistle.
    Jenkins County was able to get their offense going in the second half, but could never get back into the game.  A few failed fourth down conversions in the third quarter doomed the Eagles and provided the Panthers a short field to work with.
    One of the keys to the Portal win that will have to continue if they expect to advance in the playoffs is the powerful running of Octavious Rawls (84 yards) and Travis Budget (123 yards). Clayton Williams, who had been the Panthers' biggest running threat all year, was lost for the remainder of the season after tearing ligaments in his knee during practice this week.
    "We'll never be able to replace Clayton, but those two guys did a great job of stepping up tonight and we need them to keep it up. We'll definitely miss Clayton though. We couldn't have made it this far without him. We gave him the game ball tonight because we think so highly of him."
    With the regular season now behind them, Portal begins the life and death existence of a playoff team as it enters the new week. On Friday, they will travel to Johnson County for their first round game of the state playoffs. 
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