First Downs 14 3
Rushing Yards 194 116
Passing Yards 102 71
Total Yards 296 187
Passing 17-19-0 3-9-0
Turnovers 0 0
Penalties 3-20 6-31
Rushing: CDS: Clemens 136; PHS: Gadson 87.
Passing: CDS: Clemens 16-18-0, 99 yards, 2 touchdowns; PHS: Cory Walker 3-9-0, 71 yards, 1 touchdown.
Receiving: CDS: Stephan Williamson 5-22 yards, 1 touchdown; Jordan Walker 5-28 yards, 1 touchdown; PHS: Cory Reese 2-42 yards, 1 touchdown; Isiah Rich 1-29 yards.
PHS 6 2 0 0 — 8
CDS 7 7 13 7 — 34
Walker (CDS) 5 pass from Clemens (Stroud kick)
Reese (Portal) 25 pass from Walker (kick failed)
Safety (Portal) Keene tackled in end zone
Clemens (CDS) 1 run (Stroud kick)
Clemens (CDS) 1 run (kick failed)
Clemens (CDS) 1 run (kick failed)
Clemens (CDS) 4 run (Stroud kick)
SAVANNAH — Stung by a 71-yard run by Calvary quarterback Jake Clemens the Portal Panthers suffered a second half collapse and dropped a 34-8 play-in game to the Cavaliers Friday night at M.C. Anderson Field.
The victory propelled the Cavaliers (9-1) into the Class A state playoffs while the disappointed Panthers (6-4) had a five-game winning streak come to a screeching halt.
Clemens, whose two first half touchdown passes gave his team a 14-8 halftime lead, finished the night with 136 yards rushing and scored three touchdowns for the Cavaliers.
Portal Coach David NeSmith thought his team had gained some momentum when it got a safety 1:20 before the end of the first half, and it appeared that way when the Panthers took the second half kickoff and drove to Calvary 16.
However, the drive stalled and Portal wound up turning the ball over on downs.
Two plays later, Clemens shook loose down the right sideline to the 11-yard line. Four plays later, the junior quarterback scored the first of his three second-half touchdowns, and the Panthers never recovered.
“We got a great drive to start second half,” NeSmith said. “If we finish that and get it into the end zone and get the extra point we’re up 15-14, and we have the momentum.
“When the quarterback got loose down the sideline that was the turning point of the game,” NeSmith said. “They scored, and it snowballed from there.”
The Cavaliers followed Clemens’ touchdown with scores on their next two possessions as the Portal offense could gain only one yard the next two times it got the football.
“This was a big win for our program,” Calvary Coach Mark Stroud said. “We had to execute well, and we had to mix the run and the pass, and we did.
“Portal has a good team,” Stroud said. “The can bring it to you defensively.”
The Panther defense, however, was kept off balance by the Cavaliers who had 296 yards on the night, 194 on the ground.
Clemens wound up completing 16 of 18 passes for 99 yards, and the Cavalier defense limited the Panthers to 116 yards rushing, 87 by Trai Gadson who had runs of 32 and 24 yards on the first two plays of the second half.
Those two bursts by the senior running back followed by a 3-yard run put the ball on the Calvary 16. However, Portal turned it over on downs at the 12, and that was its last threat of the night.
Following that touchdown Clemens went in from the one with 3:37 left to cap a four play 28-yard drive, and the Cavaliers went 46 yards nine plays the next time they got the ball. Clemens scored from the four with 11:05 to play, and Calvary was on its way to the state playoffs for the second year in a row after having not been since 2003.
Calvary scored on the opening drive of the game, but the Panthers answered by going 67 yards on nine plays with Cory Walker hitting Cory Reese on a 25-yard pass for the score.
However, from that point on the Panther offense had trouble moving the ball with any consistency.
“I’m proud of the kids and the season they had,” said the disappointed NeSmith. “I think we’ve laid the foundation for some good things. We’ve just got to work on getting more kids out for football now.”