PORTAL – The weather finally cooled off, but Portal and Bryan County staged a hotly contested game Friday at the Portal Athletic Complex. Using an efficient and relentless rushing attack, the Redskins were able to jump out in front and withstand a Portal rally, winning 14-6.
From the opening kickoff, it was obvious that Bryan County wanted to run. Starting from their own 25 yard line, the Redskins embarked on a marathon scoring drive. While never able to break through with a long gain, the offense consistently chewed up yards. Bryan County converted three times on third down and once more on a fourth down to retain possession. When all was said and done, the Redskins had marched 75 yards in 17 plays, gaining 7 first downs and running off 9:21 of game time in the process.
Despite the Redskins controlling the ball for almost 21 of the first 24 minutes of the game, Bryan County held just a 6-0 lead at the break.
“We just got whipped down in the trenches,” said Portal head coach Justin Chester after the game. “We allowed too much penetration and they did a good job of grinding it out to keep getting first downs and keeping the ball away from us.”
After surrendering a Deandre Walker 6 yard touchdown run to run the deficit to 14-0, the Panthers were able to threaten. Faced with a fourth and goal on the first play of the fourth quarter though, the Redskins were able to hold tight and regain possession. Trailing by 14 with just over four minutes remaining, the Panthers took to the air and got themselves back into the game. Steven Cox looked long and lofted a deep ball over the defense and into the waiting arms of Shannon Matthew, who raced the rest of the 94 yards to make it a 14-6 game.
“The momentum was really in our favor at the end there. Of course I would have like to see a little more time left for us, but we had some chances. We had some big plays, but we just couldn’t put it all together. Hopefully it’s something that we can build on and help us next week.”
The Panthers continue their quest to get in the win column next week as they hit the road to take on the Claxton Tigers.