Facing a resurgent Josey offense eager to end a long losing streak, Portal cornerback D’von Moore and his teammates knew that the final big play of the game would likely be the difference.
With 1:06 to play in last week’s season opener, it was Moore who supplied the fireworks.
Josey receiver Ennashia Gardner hauled in a pass near the line of scrimmage, but was immediately hit and lost control of the ball.
Moore, who was charging hard on Gardner, was first on the scene of the fumble.
“I just reached out for the ball,” Moore said. “After that, I put it in the hands of God and my teammates.”
20 yards later, Moore was dragging a Josey Eagle into the end zone for the decisive points of an 18-12 Portal win.
With all Class A teams at the mercy of a statewide power poll when state playoff selection time rolls around, Portal’s win over the Class AAA Eagles served as a huge early season win.
“It’s a big boost for us,” Moore said. “We know that the season will be tough. It’s going to take what (Friday’s win took). Nothing but heart. A lot of heart.”
Moore and the Panthers will be back in action at home on Friday at 7:30 p.m.
They will face Treutlen, looking to remain unbeaten on the young season.
When Chelsea Wilson signed up for Statesboro’s inaugural volleyball squad four years ago, she wasn’t quite sure what to expect.
With barely any competitive volleyball experience on that first squad, the Lady Blue Devils took their lumps like so many brand new teams do.
But then the tide began to turn.
In Wilson’s sophomore year, Statesboro made an improbable run to the state playoffs. Last season, the Devils notched a return trip. Now in her senior season, Wilson wants another impressive run.
“From that first day of practice, it’s night and day,” Wilson said. “We’ve come so far. It would be great to finish my career with another solid season and with a good showing in our region.”
Statesboro currently sits at 7-8 on the season and could have a better mark if not for ambitious scheduling. The Devils just missed out on a victory vs. Class AAAAAA Dacula, took defending state runners-up Savannah Christian to three sets, and came within a points of beating perennial power Savannah Country Day.
Wilson helped her team start to build momentum Tuesday night as her 11 total kills led Statesboro to wins over Burke County and Southeast Bulloch.
The Devils will host South Effingham and Richmond Hill tonight before competing in an area tournament this weekend in Brunswick.