By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Savannah Country Day visits Portal

Sav. Co. Day (1-6, 0-3) at Portal (0-7, 0-3)
7:30 p.m., Today

    PORTAL — The Portal Panthers remain mired in a winless season, but spirits are still high as homecoming week culminates with a showdown against Savannah Country Day tonight at 7:30 p.m.
    After last week’s unenviable task of taking on defending champion Savannah Christian, the Panthers (0-7, 0-3) now take on Savannah Country Day (1-6, 0-3) which has seen plenty of its own struggles.
    The Panthers have been beaten up both on and off the field this season, but at least a little bit of help is on the way.
    Evan Street has been the only quarterback in uniform for the last two weeks, but freshman backup Tyler Budget will return to the sidelines tonight. Budget’s ankle still isn’t fully healthy, but Portal coach David NeSmith said that Budget will be ready if he is needed.
    Trevon Washington is also back from injury to help fill out an offensive backfield that has endured the brunt of the Panthers’ health issues this season.
    “Any time one of our fullbacks can get back in the lineup, that’s big,” said NeSmith. “We’ve struggled to find an offensive plan from week to week because we keep having to shuffle guys around. Having another guy to hand the ball to will be a big help.”
    Washington’s return is doubly important as he will also take up a spot on the defensive line. That line will have the tall task of creating penetration and making life difficult for Hornets quarterback Heys McMath.
    The senior quarterback is new to the Hornets this season after transferring in from Virginia, but has commanded the offense all season. At 6-foot-5 and 200 pounds, controlling the dangerous arm and legs and McMath will be a tall order for Portal.
    “(McMath) is a big weapon,” said NeSmith. “(Receiver Ben Johnson) is another guy that we have to keep tabs on. He’s a big guy that can hurt us downfield.”
    NeSmith said that the key to tonight’s game is the Panthers’ ability to do a better job of extending drives and keeping their defense off the field. Even if the offense doesn’t score a ton of points, fewer possessions for a passing offense like Country Day can lead to a breakdown in rhythm and execution.
    Portal is giving the Hornets plenty of respect, but is also excited about what will be its best chance to get into the win column so far this season.
    The Panther players have had a fun and loose week thanks to the various homecoming activities, but have been all business in their preparations.
    “It’s been a quiet week of practice, but a good one,” said NeSmith. “Our guys have seen tape (on Country Day) and they can all get online and look at how records match up. They’re excited to maybe get that first win, but the important thing is that they’re still focused on improving and getting better overall.”

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