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Portal powers up with peanut butter
Portal High School quarterback Evan Street whips up a peanut butter sandwich in the weight room. The Georgia Farm Bureau donated a pallet of peanut butter to help football team supplement their weight training program.

    PORTAL — In any sort of competition, athletes will look for any advantage they can get.
    For the Portal Panthers, the next win on the schedule might come courtesy of a few of the millions of peanuts harvested each season throughout Georgia.
    Monday afternoon, Georgia Farm Bureau president Zippy Duvall was on hand at Portal Middle High School to present its athletic program with an entire pallet of ABC brand peanut butter.
    “I was alerted about what was going on here at Portal,” Duvall said. “(Portal coach David NeSmith) was paying out of pocket to provide his football players with peanut butter sandwiches during practices.”
    When the financial strain of feeding the hard-working Panthers got to be too much, the snacks were discontinued.
    With the generosity of Georgia Farm Bureau, sandwiches will be on the way for a long time to come.
    “Our goal at Georgia Farm Bureau is to communicate the message of our farmers to the public,” Duvall said. “We saw a great opportunity to do that while helping out some younger kids who we hope might enter into farming someday.”
    While a peanut butter sandwich might sound like one of the simpler snacks around, it can make all the difference in training and competing.
    Portal has long been one of the smaller schools in the state. As such, a very limited group of athletes for the Panthers are normally involved in multiple sports and — with limited depth on team rosters — exert themselves more in practices and games than their opponents.
    Even for athletes that are in top shape, the wear and tear of everyday activities will take its toll. In peanut butter sandwiches, athletes can quickly and easily get an extra shot of protein and energy that will help to keep their strength up.
    “You can see the weight coming off of guys when we’re really going hard,” NeSmith said. “We talked to college coaches and other high school coaches and came up with peanut butter sandwiches. It really helps to keep the weight on guys without being unhealthy or making it hard to perform.”
    Moving forward, the Georgia Farm Bureau hopes that Portal and peanut butter will be a winning combination.
    After all, football and peanuts are two of the things that the state does best.
    “This is just another way to get our message out all around Georgia,” Duvall said. “We certainly hope that this will serve to help promote a great product made in Georgia and help Portal to excel on the field.”

    Mike Anthony may be reached at (912) 489-9404.