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  • Jim Townsend

Week Six High School Football Preview

The Portland High School football team will host the Ionia Bulldogs Friday night in Portland’s 2017 Homecoming.

The Bulldogs have a 3-2 overall record, and are currently 1-0 in league play. Last week they fell to Williamston 35-34 in overtime at Williamston. Fowlerville is the only other mutual opponent that both Ionia and Portland have already faced this year. Ionia beat the Gladiators 50-27 at Ionia in week three. Portland thumped the Gladiators 42-7 in week four.

The Raiders come in with a 4-1 overall record, 2-0 in league. They made a huge statement last week when they beat rival Lansing Catholic at Lansing Catholic, 35-6. The Cougars were undefeated coming into that game.

In the Lansing Catholic game, Portland senior stand-out running back Brock Gross had 172 yards on 22 carries, and five TD's, thanks in large part to the impressive performance displayed by his offensive line.

The Portland defense held Lansing Catholic to just 168 total yards. Devin Miller had 10 tackles and one sack. Dean Battley had seven tackles, and Cade Parmalee had four tackles two interceptions.

PHS Athletic Director Kevin Veale will likely have some butterflies in his own stomach this week. Kevin is the father of Ionia’s 5’ 9” 165-pound junior Jake Veale. Jake has had a very impressive season so far for the Bulldogs, and has been a leader on the offensive side of the ball.

When asked for his prediction on this game, Buck Geno from “ESPN 96.1’s Game of the Week” said, “The Red Raiders, coming off of a dominating performance against league foe Lansing Catholic, continue CAAC-White play with a Homecoming matchup against Ionia. The Bulldogs lost a heartbreaker last Friday to Williamston 35-34 that dropped them to 3-2 overall. Ionia has not defeated Portland since 2004; they have lost the last 5 games played in this series.

Brock Gross scored all 5 TD’s for Portland last week in an impressive outburst; it will take some help from his teammates this week as Ionia coach Mike Holes’ staff will certainly be looking to stop the fleet-footed slotback. While Portland did most of their damage on the ground last week, Ionia is susceptible to passing attacks; watch for play-action schemes to be a big part of Coach Novara’s game plan. I predict a happy Homecoming for the Red Raiders. Portland 49, Ionia 6.”

The St. Patrick Shamrocks will travel St. Joseph to face the Titans of Michigan Lutheran on Friday night.

Michigan Lutheran has a 3-2 overall record. They defeated Michigan School for the Deaf last week 46-14.

Mutual opponents so far are Tekonsha who the Titans lost to 44-3, and Burr-Oak who they beat 40-38. The Shamrocks beat Burr-Oak 59-0 in week 2.

The Shamrocks sit with a 4-1 overall record after they beat the Indians of Tekonsha last week 42-22 in the SPS Homecoming game.

Shamrock junior QB Tanner Lawson has now thrown for a whopping 839 yards so far. Running backs Ned Smith and Paul Cook lead the Shamrocks in rushing with 429 and 390 yards respectively. Paul Cook leads the defense with 63 total tackles, and five sacks.

When asked about this week’s game, Shamrock Head Coach Patrick Russman said, “We are excited to be playing on field turf. We look forward to see how our speed translates to this playing surface. We also are looking forward to having the opportunity to get better as a football team.”

When asked for his prediction on this game, Buck Geno from “ESPN 96.1’s Game of the Week” said, “St. Patrick’s victory over Tekonsha last week put them back on right track as we approach “crunch time” in the high school football season. This week, they make the long trek to St. Joseph to take on St. Joseph Michigan Lutheran. The Titans are riding a 3-game winning streak into this game after dropping their first 2 contests of the year.

The Shamrocks’ offense regained their scoring touch last week after getting stifled in their lone loss of the season to Bellevue. After a long bus ride, I expect the boys of St. Patrick’s to work out some early kinks and end the Titans’ winning ways. St. Patrick’s should overcome an early surge to post their 5th win of the season. St. Patrick’s 52, St. Joseph Michigan Lutheran 18.”

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