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  • Jim Townsend

Raiders Roll Over Ionia to Clinch Outright CAAC White Title

The Portland High School football team defeated the Bulldogs of Ionia on Friday night 35-0 to earn sole ownership of the CAAC White Conference Championship. It was also senior night for the Raiders, and the last home game of the regular season.

After the Raiders failed to make a first down in their first possession of the game, they pinned the Bulldogs deep in their own side of the field. A sack of the Ionia QB by Raider seniors Brody Smith and Kobe Kazamer would force the Bulldogs into a 4th and 19 and an eventual punt.

The Raiders would start on their own 47 and after gaining one first down, senior Gavin McGregor would break free around the right side of his offensive line to scurry 33 yards for the first score of the game. Junior Cameron Roof would nail the point after, giving the Raiders a 7-0 lead with 7:42 remaining in the opening quarter.

Ionia would start their next drive on their own 35. The Bulldogs saw some offensive success gaining multiple first downs with keepers by quarterbacks junior Blake Bookie and sophomore Austin Hillabrand. The Bulldogs were able to march down to the Portland 19 and on a 4th and 4 the Raiders finally ended the drive when the Bulldog ball carried was stopped by Smith and senior linebacker Carson Frewen.

Portland would take over on their own 21 with 10:37 remaining in the second quarter. Multiple penalties on the Bulldogs would move the Raiders to first and 10 on Ionia 41.

The Bulldog defense was able to push the Raiders to a fourth and two, but McGregor was able to keep the drive alive with a first down run. A nice run by senior Blake Meyers would set Portland up first and 10 on the Bulldog 17, then McGregor would get his second TD of the night on a 17-yard run. Roof would connect on the PAT, extending the Raider lead to 14-0 with 6:14 remaining in the second.

Ionia would start inside their own 30, and would quickly be forced to punt by the aggressive Raider defense.

The Ionia punt would roll dead at the Portland 28 with 2:52 remaining in the second quarter. The Raiders failed to make significant progress and would punt back to Ionia.

The teams would go to the halftime break with the Raiders still up 14-0.

After the Portland kick off, Ionia started the second half on their own 34, but were quickly forced to punt back to the Raiders.

Portland would start on their own 26 with 9:41 remaining in the third quarter. Portland senior QB Owen Russell connected with McGregor for a 41-yard pass to McGregor to move the Raiders into Bulldog territory. Another pass would set the Raiders up first and goal on the Ionia six. Meyers would cap the drive off with a three-yard touchdown run with 5:18 left in the third. Roof’s PAT was good and the Raiders extended their lead to 21-0.

Roof kick off would push Ionia back to their own 14. The Bulldogs were able to move the ball to their own 32, but that is as far as they would go before the Raider defense forced them to punt.

Portland would take over on the Ionia 44. After a nice first down run by sophomore Haden Getchell, Meyers would break free for a 25-yard TD run. Roof’s PAT put the Raiders up 28-0.

The Bulldog offense failed to put together a sustained drive and Portland took over on the Ionia 35. That is when Getchell broke free for a 35-yard TD run. Roof connected on the point after and the Raiders extended their lead to 35-0 with 0:33 remaining in the third.

As the fourth quarter began, Ionia did put together a sustained drive offensively, but penalties would stall the drive.

With neither team reaching the endzone in the final quarter, Portland would win the game 35-0.

After the game Portland Head Coach John Novara said, “I was happy with our effort again tonight. The weather was not ideal again, but our kids stayed disciplined and focused on winning the game and the league championship. I am proud of our efforts tonight, but we still have a lot to work on. We have a tough two weeks in front of us at Mason and at Montague.”

The Raiders 7-0 overall and 5-0 in CAAC White. They travel to Mason on Friday October 18th.

Mason is 7-0 overall and 5-0 in the CAAC Red. Mason defeated Williamston 20-9 in week seven.

With both Portland and Mason ranked in multiple statewide rankings, Friday’s matchup should be quite a contest.

Portland Rushing Totals

Blake Meyers 12 for 66 2 TD's

Jordan Selby 4 for 27

Gavin McGregor 7 for 64 2 TD's

Zach Schrauben 3 for 10

Jace Gillette 2 for 15

Michael Gross 5 for 27

Haden Getchell 3 for 59 1 TD

Portland Passing Totals

Owen Russell 3 for 6 for 71 yards

Portland Defense Totals

Reis Phillips 11 tackles

Carson Frewen 8 tackles

Brody Smith 6 tackles

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