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SCD hosts hot Portal Panthers

Portal (2-4-1, 2-1) at Sav. Co. Day (3-4, 2-1)
7:30 p.m., Today

    With wins in two of their last three games, the Portal Panthers will look to continue their winning ways tonight as they travel to face sub-region foe Savannah Country Day.
    The Panthers face a Hornets’ team that has scored 35 points in each of their past two games and who will throw the ball more than any team Portal (2-4-1, 2-1) has faced so far in 2013.
    “This group will throw the ball 25 to 30 times, if not more, and they’re pretty good at it,” said Portal Head Coach David Nesmith. “We’re going to have to play good, sound defense and not have any busted coverages.”
    The Hornets’ (3-3, 2-2) offense is led by sophomore quarterback Hunger Hatley’s 580 passing yards and six touchdowns. Hatley has also added 64 yards and a touchdown on the ground. His favorite targets have been receivers Ben Johnson and Demetris Robertson who have combined for 35 receptions and six touchdowns on the season. Running back Oliver Cesar leads the ground attack with a 5.6 per-carry average and eight touchdowns.
    Portal’s defensive backs are excited to face a team that throws as often as Savannah Country Day does.
    “We’ve talked about it being a challenge that they have to step up and meet,” Nesmith said.
    The Portal defense has been the key to the Panthers team this season and especially in sub-region play as they’ve given up only 12 points per game.
    Defensively, the Hornets come in surrendering an average of 32 points per game which the Panthers hope will continue as they search for ways to get their struggling offense going. The Panthers have averaged 11.7 points per game.
    “They’ll come out in a base 4-3 defense in cover-two,” Nesmith said. However, he expects to see several different looks as the Hornets will try to confuse the Panther offense.
    Key for the Panthers tonight will be long, sustained drives resulting in points. Doing so will keep the potent Hornets offense off the field, Nesmith said.
    The Panthers have used Darius Huff and Evan Street to lead the attack the past few weeks and the duo are expected to share quarterbacking responsibilities again tonight. Huff led the team in rushing last week with 61 yards while Street added 24 through the air.
    Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m., at Savannah Country Day.