PHS 0 14 0 0 — 14
CHS 3 14 7 7 — 31
CHS_FG Tillman 33, 7:27
PHS_White 1 run (PAT failed), 11:59
CHS_Small 58 pass from Taylor (Tillman kick), 11:03
PHS_Williams 39 run (Street run), 1:06
CHS_Small 2 pass from Taylor (Tillman kick), 0:16
CHS_Taylor 1 run (Tillman kick), 6:17
CHS_Taylor 7 run (Tillman kick), 11:25
First Downs 12 18
Total Yards 271 317
Rushes-Yards 34-195 36-227
Passing 76 90
Comp-Att-Int 8-15-1 5-10-0
Turnovers 1 0
Penalties-Yards 11-57 5-40
RUSHING_PHS, Williams 8-63, TD, Holloway 5-70. CHS, Taylor 18-96, Grant 17-126.
PASSING_PHS, Street 3-5-0-26, Budgett 5-9-1-50. CHS, Taylor 5-10-0-90, 2 TDs.
RECEIVING_PHS, Thomas 3-31. CHS, Small 3-75, 2 TDs.
CLAXTON - Quarterback Cornelious Taylor led the Claxton Tigers up and down the field and Portal couldn't keep up, as the Panthers fell 31-14 Friday in the Region 3A-A opener for both teams at the Pecan Grove.
Taylor rushed for 98 yards and two second-half scores and added two more touchdowns through the air for the Tigers (4-1, 1-0), who trailed 14-10 in the second quarter before rattling off 21 unanswered points.
Taylor gained 168 yards on the ground, but a tough PHS defense tackled him in the backfield eight times, including a pair of sacks.
"Portal has a good defense," Taylor said. "We were talking about it, and Portal might be the second best ball club we played."
Zach Grant didn't find the end zone for Claxton, but rushed for 126 yards.
"They're really good at what they do," Portal coach Jon Willoughby said about the Claxton offense. "They don't do a lot, but what they do they execute really well. (Grant) is a special kind of player. That's for sure."
Claxton struck first, traveling 57 yards on only five plays, including a 30-yard run on a handoff to Grant, but Portal's defense clamped down at the 5-yard line.
The Tigers were tackled for a loss on three-straight plays and settled for a 33-yard field goal by Dakota Tillman.
Portal had 13 tackles for loss in the game.
"Our effort was tremendous. It got away from us there at the end, but our effort was there," Willoughby said. "We'll go back, correct the mistakes and we'll get better next week - keep on keepin' on."
The Panthers were plagued by three procedure penalties on their first drive, but used some trickery on the second drive to set up a score. Quarterback Tyler Budgett threw a 10-yard pass to Trent Thomas, and Thomas shoveled the ball to Fred Holloway, who took off down the sideline on a hook-and-ladder play.
Holloway finished with 70 yards on only five carries.
Holloway carried it to the 1-yard line, and Ryan White punched it in on the first play of the second quarter to put Portal ahead 6-3.
The Tigers answered with a slant from Taylor to Darvis Small that went 58 yards to the house, but PHS retook the lead with 1:06 remaining in the half on a 39-yard Malik Williams run. Quarterback Evan Street ran it in for a two-point conversion.
Jordan Aubrey appeared to have recovered an onside kick attempt on the next play, but the ball was ruled to have traveled only nine yards, and Claxton took full advantage. A 32-yard Taylor run set up a 2-yard scoring strike to Small that left the Tigers ahead 17-14 at the half.
Small had 75 receiving yards and an interception for the game's lone turnover.
Taylor scored on second-half runs of 1 and 7 yards.
Portal travels to Savannah Country Day on Friday, while Claxton is back in action at Jenkins County.
Matt Yogus may be reached at (912) 489-4908.