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Portal survives for 7-6 upset win

PORTAL — In the end, a game that had it all came down to one kick.
    There was a Statue of Liberty play. There was a fake Statue of Liberty play on a fake punt. There was a 300-yard passer and almost a 200-yard receiver. There was an interception return for a touchdown that brought the home crowd to its feet.
    And in the end, there was an upset.
    Portal managed to win one of the most exciting 7-6 games ever because of a missed extra point kick by Treutlen County’s Michael Grimes. But boiling the game down to just one missed kick misses the point.
    The Panthers (2-7, 2-4 Region 3W-A) managed to capture their second win of the season—and their second in three games—in front of a homecoming crowd in their last game this year on their home turf. The Panthers also managed to stun a Treutlen team that was hoping to qualify for a play-in game to get into the playoffs.
    The Vikings (3-5, 2-3 region) played like a team desperate to win.
    Portal played like a team determined not to lose.
    Treutlen’s R.J. Dennard passed for 334 yards and a touchdown, but an early interception by Portal’s Corey Walker and a Portal defense that bent without breaking was his undoing.
    Walker intercepted the pass at the Portal 13-yard line on Treutlen’s first drive of the night. The junior wove through traffic and broke away for the 87-yard defensive score.
    The rest of the night nearly belonged to Treutlen, Dennard and receiver Devonte Pierce, who caught 14 passes for 184 yards. But every time the Vikings looked poised to take control of the game Portal found away to turn them away.
    “the chemistry of this team has been coming together for a while now,” head coach Cherard Freeman said. “In practice, in the weight room and in the classroom the guys have been doing what they need to do.”
    The Panthers shut down late in the game by forcing four straight incompletions after Treutlen had already extended their drive with a fake punt. The Vikings got one last shot at the Portal defense with the clock winding down but Dennard was sacked by the combination of Joe locket and Denzel Washington on third down. Dennard then threw a final incomplete pass on fourth-and-28.
    The Panthers rejoiced.
    For all the passing yards Dennard accumulated, Portal did not allow a completion in his final seven attempts.
    “This is a big win for the coaching staff as well as the players,” Freeman said. “They put together a good game plan.”
    Portal quarterback Hunter Oglesby was injured near the end of the first half, forcing Walker to move under center. Walker rushed the ball 16 times for 36 yards, but got several first downs on pounding runs.
    “I told him to just go out and play his game,” Freeman said. “His game is a physical game.”
    Penalties also hurt both teams, but Treutlen saw the lion’s share of the yellow handkerchiefs. The Vikings were penalized 11 times for 95 yards. A made field goal from 27 yards out in the second quarter was nullified by a penalty. The 32-yard follow-up attempt was missed.
    Portal committed seven penalties for 45 yards.
    Both teams lost a touchdown to penalties.