The Portal Panthers played host to the Bryan County Redskins in a Region 2-A football matchup Friday night in Portal.
The Redskins' came away with a 14-6 victory for their second win of the season. The win puts the Redskins' record at 2-4 overall and 1-1 in Region play.
After receiving the opening kickoff Bryan County started its first possession at the BCHS 16-yard line and immediately cranked up the running game to get the chains moving. With the entire Redskins' backfield sharing the rushing load they methodically moved the ball down field with several consecutive first downs and soon had worked their way to Portal’s 1-yard line.
With 2:39 remaining in the first quarter and Portal yet to have an offensive possession, Ivey Mutcherson punched the ball over from the one to give the Redskins' a 6-0 lead. The two-point conversion attempt was no good.
Portal finally got the ball and started on the Redskins' 46-yard line, but the first quarter saw the Redskins' defense shut the Panthers' down and force them to punt as the first quarter ended.
"Our goal is to keep the ball away from the other team" BCHS coach Ron Lewis said. "We were able to get our fullback more involved tonight and that helped in our ball control".
The second quarter began with Bryan County pinned back on their own 6-yard line after the punt, but they continued to rely heavily on their running attack to gain better field position.
The Redskins' soon found their way into Portal territory at the Portal 25, but a defensive stand by Portal on fourth and long stuffed the Redskins' drive and gave Portal the ball with 4:12 left in the second quarter.
The Panthers' first play was good for a first down, but the next play they fumbled and senior Jarell Paulk pounced on it to give Bryan County the ball back on their own 35. The running game got the Redskins' down to the Portal 3-yard line , but time expired before the Redskins' could get one more shot at a score.
The first half showed Bryan County dominating statistically in all phases of the game, but the scoreboard showed Portal still in the game to start the second half. Portal got the ball on their own 34 to start the third quarter, but a bad snap and a penalty moved them back. They soon had to punt and gave Bryan County the ball at the Portal 40 yard line.
A quick 21-yard gain by Mutcherson had the Redskins at the Portal 19, but both teams kept swapping penalties and eventually Bryan County was knocking on the end zone door when Deandre Walker scampered in from 6 yards out for the Redskins" second touchdown. D.J. McElroy ran in the two-point conversion to make the score 14-0 Bryan County.
The fourth quarter saw Portal with the ball on the Redskins' 13, but a fourth down pass fell incomplete and Bryan County took over. Continuing to share the running duties between Mutcherson, Bostick, and Walker, the offense, in spite of more penalties, had moved the ball down to the Portal 14 before ,but the drive stalled and gave Portal the ball back with 2:56 showing on the clock.
Bryan Countys' defense, led by junior Justin Covington, had Portal buried deep on their own 6 yard line when Portal quarterback Steven Cox hit a speedy receiver Justin Raymond in stride with a pass that turned into a 94-yard touchdown play. Their two-point try failed and the score was now 14-6 Bryan County.
Portal later found themselves with the ball again with 0:37 on the clock and gasping for one more opportunity to somehow punch in another score. Down to 0:09 on the game clock, Cox was scrambling to make a play, but a swarming Redskins defense hit Cox and the ball came loose and was recovered by Joe Jenkins of Bryan County. The Redskins' only had to take a knee to run out the clock on the next play and the Redskins' walked away with their second win of the year.
The Redskins' offense produced 410 yards of rushing yardage with it being shared among the backfield. Mutcherson ran 33 times for190 yards, Bostick had 16 carries for 104 yards, Walker add 19 rushes for 99 yards and McElroy finished with 4 carries for 17 yards.
“ It was a good team effort, but we still have to make big plays on defense and continue to learn to execute our assignments,” Lewis said. "Stupid penalties continue to hurt us along with having guys injured. We just can't afford to have anyone else get hurt".