It was another tough year for Portal, but the Panthers ended their 2017 season on a high note Thursday night as they travelled to Soperton and outlasted Treutlen in a 46-39 slugfest.
There won’t be any playoffs waiting for the Panthers (2-8), but Thursday’s win was definitely a step in the right direction.
“I’m proud of our guys,” Portal coach Matt Smith said. “I know we haven’t had as many wins as we’d like, but that never stopped our guys from working. They kept practicing hard and playing hard each week and it’s good to see that pay off for them.”
Saying that Portal improved isn’t just an observation made from the fact that they won. The Panthers opened their season over two months ago on the same Soperton field against the same Viking team. That night ended in a Portal loss, so Thursday’s victory added a measure of revenge to the sense of accomplishment.
Portal racked up an impressive 391 total yards — 359 of them on the ground — and was two steps ahead of Treutlen throughout the night.
Craig Ware had a second huge game in as many weeks as he carried the ball 23 times for 245 yards and five touchdowns. Brian Ware picked up some more slack, running 11 times for 84 yards and finding the end zone once.
“It was the most complete game we played all season,” Smith said. “Obviously the offense was going and, even though we gave up a few points, we got ahead early and the defense made plays when we needed it.”