Every season comes to an end eventually. You can only hope that the season is a good one and the conclusion is a happy one. For Portland there were many things to be happy for except the final score last Saturday. Portland’s hopes for a 2nd Division 5 State Championship came up short losing to Hudsonville Unity Christian 42-7.
The Raider faithful were stunned by the quick start by the Crusaders as the Raiders quickly fell behind by two touchdowns. Uncharacteristic turnovers by the Raiders contributed to the Crusader success in the first half and short circuited a drive before halftime. The Crusaders went to the half up 28-0 over the Raiders.
In the 2nd half the Raiders got a little life when (Sr) SB Jake Veale ran a kickoff back 91 yards following another Crusader touchdown. However, it would not be enough as the Crusaders would tack on another touchdown for good measure. The final score was Hudsonville Unity Christian 42 Portland 7.
After the game Coach John Novara said, “Obviously we got beat up today a little bit up front, on both sides of the ball. Their offensive and defensive lines played great. We had a hard time moving them off the ball. We ran the ball very successfully all year long, and we just couldn’t do it today. It’s still kind of surreal that we’re here. We had to replace a ton from last year with no skill (position) kids coming back. If you would’ve saw us early in practice, you wouldn’t have thought we would be here. Our kids did, they believed and they got better each week. They’re probably the most athletic football team we played this season. We had to resort to throwing the ball around a little bit and they made some plays.”
After this season the only place this team fell short was on the final scoreboard. This team battled. This team fought. And this team celebrated together. Like a FAMILY. FAMILY is not just a mantra, it’s a culture for Portland football. We come together as a FAMILY and we battle together as a FAMILY. That sums up Portland. To nearly 4,000 people this team will always be Champions. To the seniors, you’ll be greatly missed. To the juniors and sophomores, it’s next man up. Time to get in the weight room and remember, “We do today what others won’t, so we can do tomorrow what others can’t”. Time to write your chapter in Portland Football.
Owen Russell 6 of 18, 89 yards 3 Int
Jake Veale 13 carries 42 yards
Blake Meyers 7 carries 26 yards
Hunter Hohman 10 tackles
Carson Frewen 8 tackles
Griffin Summers 8 tackles
Mitch Mallek 8 tackles
Photos by AJ Guilford.