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Panthers get first win
Portal tops Bryan County 21-13
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      PEMBROKE — Portal scored two second half touchdowns, giving PHS their first victory of the season and the first win of head coach of Justin Chester's career with a 21-13 win over Bryan County Friday night.
    The Panthers were all smiles after the game.
    "It's a great feeling," said a relieved Chester after the game. "It's like a long time coming. We worked hard and had some tough things happen, but this group of guys just kept working... and this first win is what we need to get our season going in the right direction."
    The turning point in the game may have been the eventual game-winning drive.
    With Portal trailing 13-7, PHS took the ball at their own 37 at marched 63 yards on 15 plays, capped off by a two-yard toss sweep to Clayton Williams on third-and-goal with 11:16 to go in the game. Williams' score was one of many big plays turned in by the Portal seniors in the win.
    "I'm so proud of the seniors on that offense," said Chester. "They got it together and buckled down and put up 21 points. Probebly could have been more, but hey, we'll take it."
    Williams rushed for 71 yards on the night and the one score. His escape act on a 4th-and-3 run to avoid a defender in the backfield at the BCHS 43 kept the crucial drive alive.
    After a defensive stand on 4th-and-inches, Portal took over at the Bryan 38, and put together another successful drive.
    Senior quarterback Brandon Mock pushed in a QB sneak with 5:53 left to make the lead eight, and the PHS defense held on from there.
    "I can't tell you how much lighter I feel now," said Mock. "I feel like there's a weight that's been lifted off our shoulders."
    Mock's 17-yard run on 4th-and-5 , a run in which he was punished by Redskins defenders, set up the game's final score.
    "I took a few shots," said Mock. "I had a helmet stick in my hip bone and that didn't feel to good, but when were 0-5 and were in the situation we are... I just don't feel it."
    The two teams played to a scoreless tie in the first. The Redskins (2-4, 0-2) capitalized on Portal's second lost fumble of the night in the second quarter when senior Aikeem Collins rolled over a goal line pile on fourth down to give BCHS the lead. Collins rushed for 134 yards and two touchdowns and was a menace to the Portal defense all night.
    Portal (1-5, 1-1) answered on the ensuing drive when Mock hit senior Fred Williams on a picture-perfect fly route. Williams beat his man and leaned back to haul in what would become a 48-yard touchdown pass to tie the game at seven. Williams had three catches for 67 yards.
    The Redskins took their final lead of the game in the third when Collins finally broke through the Portal secondary, bursting 44 yards on a toss sweep around left end untouched. The point after attempt failed, giving BCHS a 13-7 advantage.
    The Panthers return home next week to face Claxton while the Redskins travel to Emanuel County Institute.

    Chad Bishop can be reached at (912)-489-9404.