PEMBROKE – Bryan County’s Konnor Leggett scored with 27 seconds remaining to give the Redskins a come-from-behind 28-24 win over previously unbeaten Portal on Friday night.
The Panthers, off to their best start since winning their first eight games in 2005, had taken a 24-22 lead with 2:36 to play when Elijah Coleman threw a 26-yard touchdown strike to Amir Jackson and then ran for the two-point conversion.
Bryan County, like Portal (3-1) a run-oriented team, responded with an 80-yard drive which consisted of 10 running plays against a tiring Panthers defense.
“I was pleased with our defensive effort,” Coach Jason McEachin said. “It just wasn’t enough.
“We couldn’t tackle them well enough at the end to stop their drive,” McEachin said. “I’m proud of our kids and their effort. They played hard. Bryan County had scored 56 and 41 points in its last two games so we did a good job holding them.”
The game was a back-and-forth affair with three—make that four—lead changes with neither team willing to give an inch before Leggett, who had 126 yards rushing, scored his third touchdown of the night.
Portal led 8-6, 16-14 and 24-22 but it wasn’t enough as the Panthers obviously left too much time on the clock for a team averaging 38 points per game.
Bryan County (3-1) lost leading rusher Austin Clemons to a knee injury on the first series of the game and turned to running back by committee to avoid the upset. Per Max Preps the Redskins were a 14-point favorite but no one bothered to tell Coleman and the Panthers.
One of the features of the Portal offense is it can produce big plays and quick scores which then puts a defense back on the field before it can catch its breath.
Going into the game McEachin was looking for the Panthers to make sustained drives and for the most part he got what he was looking for.
Portal’s first touchdown came with 16 seconds left in the first half and it ate 7:30 off the clock. Coleman had a 94-yard run for the second touchdown and then on the third score Portal took up nearly seven minutes.
However, it left too much time on the clock and Bryan County simply ran the ball right at the Panthers who never got the Redskins in a third down situation.
Coleman turned in an outstanding performance as he ran for 126 yards and completed 5-of-8 passes for 83 yards. Jackson, a standout in basketball, used his 6-foot-4 height to his advantage as he caught four passes for 65 yards. He also had a 33-yard scoring pass negated by a holding penalty.
“He’s an exceptional player,” McEachin said of Coleman. “He’s grown a lot and matured. He’s developed into a leader.