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The Portal Panthers have had tonight circled on their calendar. After struggling through four tough non-region games and coming out on the short end of all four, PHS (0-4) couldn't be more excited to open region play.
    "You know, when we look back at those first four games, they're really games that we could have won," said PHS head coach Justin Chester. "But we've beat ourselves, and the week off couldn't have come at a better time. We've been really focused on (tonight)."
    Portal welcomes a Savannah Country Day team that is 1-0 in region 3-A, posting a 34-14 win over Bryan County last week. The Panthers aren't underestimating the importance of tonight's contest.
    "We have to play a near-flawless game," said Chester, whose Panthers have turned the ball over 13 times in four contests. "If it comes down to who makes a mistake, it concerns me because Country Day is a team that just doesn't make mistakes."
    SCD (3-2, 1-0) has posted wins over Long County and Johnson of Savannah along with their win over BCHS. Halfback Drew Johnson is one of many speedy weapons the Panthers are hoping to contain.
    "We have to read our assignments and make our keys," said Chester. "They are well coached, and are just so sound and smart...we just can't beat ourselves."
    If the Panthers control the turnover bug tonight, they still have to overcome a fourth quarter scoring drought. The Panthers have yet to score a point in the fourth quarter this season.
    "We have to find a way," said Chester. "Our offense has been able to move the ball, but then we just stall. We as coaches have to do a better job as well, in terms of having a plan to a make the right call in that sort of situation."
    There is good news for PHS. Chester said the Panthers are as healthy as they were before a preseason scrimmage with Metter and will welcome Tagg Lanier back to the field.
    "There is no one more excited to suit up and play this week than Tagg," said Chester. "He's a great competitor and leader and he's going to be a big help for us defensively."
    Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m. at the Portal Athletic Complex.