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  • Jim Townsend

Week Nine High School Football Preview

In the final week of the high school football regular season, the Portland Raiders (7-1, 3-0) will host the Redhawks of Marshall (4-4) Friday night at 7:00 PM.

Marshall fell to their rival Harper Creek (8-0) last week, 27-20, in a game that gave Harper Creek an outright conference title. Marshall was leading in that game until Harper Creek went ahead with less than two minutes left in the game.

The Raiders won a thriller last week against Pontiac Notre Dame Prep, 29-27. The Irish had shut out six of their opponents before coming to Portland.

On the year so far, the Raiders have now outscored their opponents 249-97. Senior running back Brock Gross leads the Raiders in rushing with 789 yards on 110 carries, and 13 TDs. Quarterback Austin Allison has thrown for 614 yards and eight TDs, while rushing for another five himself. Gavin Dennany leads Portland in receiving with nine catches and 189 yards, with two TDs. On the defensive side, senior Devin Miller leads with 144 tackles and three sacks.

When asked about this week’s match-up, PHS Coach Novara said, “Marshall is a big, physical football team. They have one of the best running backs in the area, and they return 8 starters on both sides of the football. We are going to have to be able to stop the run and be efficient on offense. This should be another quality football game, and a good primer for the playoffs.”

When asked for his prediction on this game, Buck Geno from “ESPN 96.1’s Game of the Week” said, “The Red Raiders wrap up their 4-game homestand after an impressive, hard-fought win over Pontiac Notre Dame Prep last week. The regular season finale has the Marshall Redhawks coming to town; with a 4-4 record they are not in the playoff race, but would like nothing more than to end their season on a winning note. Portland can clinch at least home playoff game with a win on Friday. This should be a good tune-up for what promises to be a tough road to Ford Field. The Red Raiders will look to get out of this game injury-free & prep for whoever they face in the first round of the MHSAA Playoffs. Portland 44, Marshall 16.”

The St. Patrick Shamrocks (7-1) will host the Michigan School for the Deaf (0-6) in their regular season finale on Thursday at Portland High at 7:00 PM.

The Shamrocks are coming off a 24-8 win over Marion last week. Marion had a six win and one loss record coming into the contest.

The Tartars of Michigan School for the Deaf have struggled this year on the defensive side of the ball, allowing 60+ points against in four of their last five games.

Through eight weeks, Shamrock junior QB Tanner Lawson has thrown for 923 yards and 17 TDs. Sophmore running back Ned Smith leads in rushing with 61 yards and three TDs. Senior Will Smith leads the receiving category with 12 receptions for 285 yards and six TDs. On the defensive side, junior Paul Cook leads with 90 tackles.

Shamrock Head Coach Patrick Russman said, “We appreciate that Flint School for the Deaf is coming to play today. We really appreciate the good weather forecast for today. We look forward to seeing improvement of our team and will be focusing on improving our depth at several positions. It is Senior Night for us tonight we appreciate all the support our families give us throughout the year. We will take time tonight to say special thanks to our Seniors and their parents.”

When asked for his prediction on this game, Buck Geno from “ESPN 96.1’s Game of the Week” said, “The Shamrocks fended off the Eagles of Marion last Saturday night and get right back to work tonight as they host the Flint MI School for the Deaf in the regular season finale. The 8-man bracket has been split into 2 divisions by enrollment and St. Patrick’s projects to be placed in Division 2. A win tonight would clinch at least 2 home games in the MHSAA playoffs. Flint comes into the contest at 0-5 and will end their season tonight. This game will be held tonight, October 19, to avoid conflict with the Portland HS home game scheduled for Friday. Portland St. Patrick’s 68, Flint MI SFTD 6.”

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