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Portal looks to bounce back vs. Treutlen
Portal helmet

Portal is one of a few area teams that got its regular season started last week. Of course, the Panthers might prefer to wipe the slate clean and start anew.

Last Friday night, Portal made the trek up to Warren County and returned home saddled with a 40-6 loss. They’ll try to shake off those bad memories tonight in their home opener as Treutlen comes to town for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff at the Portal Athletic Complex.

It once again appears as if Portal's biggest issue is depth and experience. The Panthers have plenty of individual talent in players like quarterback Connor Washington and running back Brian Ware, but in a school with fewer than 300 students and a roster that usually hovers around 30, there are precious few options to turn to when injuries and fatigue become an issue. 

The lean numbers also mean that Portal freshmen and sophomores are routinely matched up against veteran seniors, something that will be an issue again as they face the Vikings tonight.

Treutlen is coming off of a 35-21 victory over ACE Charter in ACE’s first varsity game in school history. A Portal defense that was on its heels last week will again have plenty to worry about. Not only did Treutlen running back Jeremiah Miller rush for 110 yards and a pair of touchdowns last week, but the Vikings also showed plenty of versatility as they featured a spread offense throughout most of the game before shifting into a double-tight end wishbone attack in a decisive fourth quarter that featured both of Miller’s scores.

Tonight marks the beginning of a run of three consecutive region crossover games for the Panthers. Portal resides in Region 3-A, Division A while Treutlen, Emanuel County Institute and Jenkins County all play in Division B. Regardless of that fact, the altered state playoff qualification process in Class A makes the distinction of region and non-region games irrelevant, so a win is worth its weight in gold for Portal at any point on the schedule.