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Portal Football to participate in Erk Russell Classic
Portal Football
Erk Russell Classic committee member Darryl Hopkins, left, stands with Portal head football coach Jason McEachin as the two hold a flyer for the Panthers' upcoming Aug. 27 game to be played as part of the Erk Russell Classic at Paulson Stadium. - photo by JOSH AUBREY/staff

It’s been a rough couple years for the Portal Panther football team who haven’t won a game since 2019. Head coach Jason McEachin was hoping for something to help get his players excited about pre-season practice and conditioning as the 2022 season approaches and Friday, he got just what the doctor ordered. 

Friday Daryl Hopkins surprised a group of Portal supporters and the Panther student body with the news that Portal has been selected to participate in the annual Erk Russell Classic August 27 at 6:00 in Paulson Stadium. Hopkins is on the board of the Erk Russell Classic committee and felt like the Panthers were deserving of the opportunity. 

“I had trouble sleeping last night because I was so excited about coming here and surprising everyone with the announcement,” said Hopkins. We saw that Portal was playing that Friday August 26 and felt like it would be a good fit for us. The community is excited as you can see and we are anxious to get things started.” 

The Panthers will take on the Twiggs Trojans in the 6:00 game with Statesboro and Southeast Bulloch playing Saturday night at 9:00. McEachin is excited about the opportunity for the Panthers. 

“Knowing that the Erk Russell Classic took place at Paulson Stadium and we are here in Bulloch County it was one of my goals to get us in there,” said McEachin. “We are so thankful to the committee for giving us this chance and it means so much to our team and our community to be involved with such a special event. That poster will go up in the weight room and we will point at that all summer long to help motivate our players.” 

Portal athletic director Justin Chester helped lobby for the game and as a Portal alum is hopeful other alumni and fans will come out to show their support.  

“I am so happy for coach McEachin and our boys to be able to have this opportunity,” said Chester. “We are hopeful that an announcement like this will fire up those who are on the team and maybe get some that are not to want to play. I’m a proud Portal alum and I hope that we can get everyone in our community to buy a ticket and come out to Paulson and support the team. If you have worked at Portal, gone to school here or had a family member here we need you to show up and show out August 27.”