The Portal Panthers 2020 season unfortunately began the same way things have gone the past five years, with a tough loss. Friday the Panthers hung around for most of the first half against Montgomery County, but were then outscored 26-0 until adding a late touchdown for a final of 40-14.
There were a few bright spots in the loss including the rushing of senior running back Wilken Washington who rushed for 110 yards on 13 carries and had two touchdowns.
“We know what Wilken is capable of, and he showed some of that Friday night,” said Portal coach Matt Smith. “I felt like our line played well at times, and we had a few sustained drives that we strung together to give us some hope for the rest of the season.
The area the Panthers really struggled was on the defensive side of the field. Portal allowed the Eagles to convert quite a few third and long situations, and gave up a couple of big plays that resulted in touchdowns.
“The area we really need to make some strides this week is on defense,” said Smith. “I feel like we have some guys on that side of the ball who can make plays, they just did not do it on a consistent basis Friday against Montgomery County. We also had some young guys over there making their first high school start, so hopefully they can improve with a game now under their belt.”
This week the Panthers hit the road for Alamo and a meeting with the 2-0 Wheeler County Bulldogs. The Bulldogs opened the season with a 26-19 win over Telfair County, and last week they shut out Glascock County 32-0. Last year Wheeler County was the only team Portal beat as they trounced the Bulldogs 50-6 to end the season.
“They are 2-0 and feeling really good about themselves,” said Smith. “This will be their home opener so I expect they will get a good crowd at the game. Seeing them on film I really think we can compete with them. If we are able to improve like I think we should from week one to week two we should have a good chance to be competitive.”
The Panthers and the Bulldogs are set for a 7:30 kickoff in Alamo.