Coming off of back-to-back last-minute losses the Portal Panthers were able to right the ship as they went on the road to Irwinton and defeated Wilkinson County by a score of 31-8 last Friday, improving to 3-2 on the season.
Head coach Jason McEachin was happy to get the team back in the win column and was even more excited to see the Panther offense and defense start clicking again.
“Overall, we were really pleased with all phases of the game,” McEachin said. “With the exception of penalties, we played really well. We put in a wildcat package with Amir Jackson in at quarterback and he ended up throwing for a touchdown, rushing for a touchdown and had one reception for a touchdown.”
Finding a way for Jackson to be more involved in the offense is something the Panthers have tried to do. Brian McQueen took the majority of snaps at quarterback Friday as well, as Elijah Coleman recovers from a shoulder injury.
“Brian did a good job and threw for over 100 yards last week,” McEachin said. “Elijah has had some issues with his shoulder so Brian took the snaps for the most part. We think Elijah will be back to give it a go this week, but we feel confident in Brian if we need to call on him, and he will definitely still have some snaps at quarterback regardless.”
This week the Panthers travel out of state to make up for a game that was cancelled just prior to starting the season. Portal will head to Gray Collegiate Academy in West Columbia, South Carolina.
The War Eagles play in South Carolina Class-AA and are 6-1. They are averaging 36 points per game on offense and giving up just over 21 points per contest. Running back B.J. Montgomery comes in averaging over 121 yards rushing per game. The War Eagle passing game is led by quarterback Tyler Waller who has 10 touchdown passes and receiver Jamarious Lockett is averaging 115 yards receiving per game with seven touchdowns.
“They have a lot of dynamic playmakers and this will be a tough contest for us,” McEachin said. “The Montgomery kid isn’t really big but he is fast and can break free at any time. They have a couple of guys they have played at quarterback but Waller has kind of taken over and it will be a challenge to keep the tempo down and slow them down. They have given up a lot of points so we feel we can score with them if needed but we are hoping our defense will rise to the challenge.”
McEachin knows the importance of finishing up the Panthers' non-region schedule with a win in order to get some momentum going into region play next week.
“The good thing about this game is it should actually help us to prepare for Montgomery County,” McEachin said. “They like to throw it around some which is what Montgomery likes to do as well. We go into every game wanting to win the game, but win or lose this should help us for the game that really counts which is a region game.”
Portal and Gray Academy kick off in West Columbia at 7:30 p.m. on Friday.