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Portal wants another sub-region win


    Momentum is on the side of the Portal Panthers after the team got their first win of the season against the Claxton Tigers last week.
    The Panthers (1-4, 1-0 Region 3-A) snapped a four-game losing streak with a 27-7 win over the Tigers as well as picked up the first region win of the season.
    Interim head coach Matt Smith said his team played fast and aggressive, and that’s the style of play they’ll need as they take on Savannah Country Day today.
    The Hornets (1-4, 0-1) lost to Emanuel County Institute 34-7 last week and present a similar matchup for the Panthers as the Tigers did last week.
    As the Panthers look to improve to 2-0 in subregion play, here’s a few things to look for in today’s game.
What to watch
    As cliche as it sounds, this game is going to come down to the fundamentals. Portal had a sound game against Claxton, however, coach Smith said a few drives were disrupted by mental mistakes.
    Smith said his team spent practice going over fundamentals and working on ways to get better.
    “We just have to focus on us and what we need to do,” Smith said Wednesday afternoon after his team’s practice. “Against (Savannah Country Day) we’ll have a similar game plan and it should be a good, close ballgame.”
    Against Claxton, the Panthers had six penalties for 50 yards.

Who to watch
    This year the tandem of Malik Williams and Darius Huff have led the Panthers offense. Against the Tigers Huff scored two touchdowns while Williams broke free on an 85-yard kickoff return to open the game.
    Coach Smith said his pair of running backs will be the difference in the game against Savannah Country Day.
    “We have an offense that takes advantage of what the defense gives us. The last game they kind of keyed in on (Malik) Williams,” Smith said. “So that allowed Darius (Huff) to get open and get going. He had about 185 yards that game.”

Key Factor
    Huff said the team’s first win of the season over Claxton was a great momentum boost. Facing a team with a similar style of defense as Claxton, Portal has a great opportunity to walk away with an undefeated region record Friday.
    Huff, who rushed for 187 yards on 14 carries and two touchdowns, said the win over Claxton gives the team confidence moving forward. Portal will look to carry that confidence over to the next game.
    “We have a great chance of winning this game and we can continue to get better each week,” Huff said. “It felt good to win a region game, so that gives us a chance to get into the playoffs.”
    Portal will face Savannah Country Day at home. Game time is 7:30 p.m.