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Tigers hold off Portal

    METTER — The Portal Panthers had enough left over for one second-half push, but their 17-play, six-minute, 20 second, 57-yard drive stalled at the Metter 5-yard line as they fell 13-7 Friday at the hands of the Tigers in The Jungle.
    After quarterback Hunter Oglesby left the game in the second quarter with an ankle injury, Corey Walker (14-54, TD) took the snaps, and after a Metter three-and-out started the third quarter, Walker and fullback Devon Spells (17-71) combined on the drive for 13 of the 17 carries and 56 yards, including a sneak for seven yards on 4th-and-3 by Walker.
    “Walker came in and did a great job,” said PHS coach Cherard Freeman. “Losing a guy like Hunter Oglesby is going to hurt. The offense – it doesn’t shut down – but we’ve got to get kind of vanilla with Walker. Overall, the guys played hard.”
    Walker’s pass on 4th-and-goal from the 5-yard line fell short and the Panthers turned it over on downs with 3:24 left in the third quarter.
    After that, both defenses put the clamps on, and Metter (2-0) held on for the win.
    “Any win’s a good win,” said first-year MHS coach Mike West. “An ugly win is better than an ugly loss, and I’m excited for our kids. When you haven’t won a lot of ballgames, you have a lot of doubt. We’ve got to get that doubt out of their minds.”
    For the second-straight Friday, Portal marched down the field for a score on its opening possession. It started when Oglesby connected with Walker down the sideline for a 44-yard completion all the way down to the Metter 15.
    Four-straight runs including a three-yard Walker plunge into the end zone that gave the Panthers an early 7-0 advantage.
    Metter fumbled on its first drive on the tail end of a Pete Nagel (5-10, 67 yards) completion to Dean Eason, but held the Panthers to a three-and-out on their next drive.
    The Tigers found their first points on the first play of the second quarter when, on 4th-and-6 from the 8-yard line, Kyle Smith ran it around the left side to tie the score at 7-7.
    Xerik McCollum recovered a fumble on the next Portal drive, and after the teams traded punts, Metter found six again.
    Nagel finished off an eight-play drive with a 21-yard completion to Anthony Dekle for a 13-7 MHS lead.
    The Panthers (0-2) got down to the Metter 35 on the final drive of the first half, Carl but Walker, in for a shaken-up Oglesby, threw a pick to Carl Kennedy to end the half with PHS trailing by six.
    Metter heads to Twin City for a date with Emanuel County Institute Friday at 7:30 p.m., and Portal hosts cross-region rival Claxton.

    Matt Yogus can be reached at (912) 489-9408.