“The Autumn Wind is a Raider, Pillaging just for fun. He'll knock you 'round and upside down, And laugh when he's conquered and won.” – John Facenda
The only thing missing in that poem was the Autumn Wind on a hot evening. The only thing hotter than the temperature on the field were the feet of Senior SB Brock Gross. Gross put together a game that many football players frankly dream of. Gross finished the night with 22 carries for 172 yards with 4 rushing TD’s and a 53-yard punt return for his fifth TD of the night. After the game, Gross humbly, credited his offensive line for leading the way. Lead the way they did. Portland would put together some long series. One of which had Portland’s offense running 22 plays before scoring. Thanks to the Offensive Line and the rest of the offense, the Raiders ran 61 offensive plays of a game that consisted of 99 total plays which meant Portland controlled the ball for 61.6% of the game. That is a dominant performance, despite what Channel 6 and Fred Heumann may have mislead some to believe with their highlights.
The scoring started off with a 42-yard TD from Gross, with a good extra point from Junior K Tate Dziewiatkowski. Dziewiatkowski would convert all 5 of his extra point attempts. There was still 9:08 left in the 1st quarter, but that would be the only scoring in the quarter.
The 2nd quarter would see an explosive offensive output from Gross. Gross would start off the scoring in the quarter with a tough 5-yard run. Then Gross would then score on a long 53-yard punt return with 4:40 left in the 2nd quarter. Then the Raider defense would start pillaging the Cougar offense with Junior S Cade Parmalee picking off a Lansing Catholic Senior QB Michael Lynn III pass setting up another Gross TD. Parmalee would finish the night with 4 tackles and 2 interceptions. After a penalty Gross would run it in from 19 yards out to finish the scoring in the half.
The Raiders would take a surprising 28-0 lead into half time. Yes, the score was surprising but the fashion in which the Raiders put them up was really surprising, as the Cougars had no answers for what Portland was doing. Lansing Catholic would come out and get a long 53-yard TD from Michael Whitney but in the 4th Quarter Gross would once again put up a highlight TD, that some could only do with a video game controller in their hand mashing away on the B button. Gross would score from 53 yards out after appearing to have a short gain as Jr. DB Colin Day appeared to have Gross wrapped up. Gross would break the tackle, but 2 key downfield blocks would spring Gross for the TD. Junior SB Owen Guilford came across and picked up a Cougar tackler that had a beat on Gross. Then Junior WR Blake Patrick would hold off Sr. Gabe Lenneman as Gross weaved back and forth behind Patrick’s block until Gross turned the defender completely around at the goal line.
While one name dominated the scoring, it would be incorrect to say it was not a team effort and criminal not to credit the Offensive Line and Defense for the job they did. The Defense held Lansing Catholic’s Offense to 168 yards total for the game and 53 of which came on one play. Senior LB Devin Miller led the way with 10 tackles and 1 sack. Senior LB Dean Battley added 7 tackles. Offensively Battley and Senior QB Austin Allison, added many key runs keeping the offense churning along and helping the Raider offense pick up 18 first downs for the game.
After the game, Head Coach John Novara credited his kids. “I thought our kids went out and played fast and physical tonight. We controlled the ball on offense and played great on defense. I think our kids played fast and had fun tonight.” Talking to many on the Portland sideline, Coach the kids weren’t the only ones to have fun tonight. However just like anything else it’s only 1 game and it’s back to work for the kids and the coaching staff as Portland prepares for a Friday Homecoming match-up against neighboring rival Ionia (3-2, 1-0). Game time is scheduled for a 7 p.m. start on Friday, September 29th with the parade beginning at 5:30 p.m.