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Portal looks to bounce back after suffering first loss

The Portal Panthers had a great opportunity to knock off a state playoff team from a year ago, but costly turnovers, special team’s mistakes and red zone inefficiency saw them fall just short at Screven County by a score of 22-21.  

“We turned the ball over four times, had special team breakdowns and failed to score two times from the 10-yard line and the 20-yard line,” said coach Jason McEachin. “All that being said we still only lost by one point. We hope to learn from this and are glad if it was going to happen it happened in a non-region game.” 

McEachin takes some of the blame himself as Florida commit Amir Jackson ended the game with no receptions. 

“We have to do a better job of getting all of our playmakers involved and that starts with me,” McEachin said. “I called pass plays with Amir in mind, but he was being double and triple teamed and sometimes we had pass protection breakdowns. That is unacceptable and from a coaching standpoint I have to find a way to get him the ball. If that means handing him the ball throwing it to him quickly, whatever it is we are going to find a way to get him involved in the offense this week.”  

The Panthers will need a big game from Jackson and everyone else this week as they go up against former Portal head coach Cherard Freeman and his 3-0 Bryan County Redskins. Bryan County is led by senior running ack Austin Clemons who comes in averaging over 150 yards rushing per game. 

“They are 3-0 and have an impressive win over Lincoln County on their resume,” McEachin said. “Coach Freeman has built an identity there and they have a lot of the same kids back from last year’s state playoff team. They are going to run the Wing-T on offense with two tight ends and come right at you. They are tough and physical inside and are tough to run on. We are going to have our hands full Friday.” 

Portal and Bryan County are scheduled for a 7:30 start Friday in Portal.