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  • Jim Townsend

Raiders Shut Down Central Montcalm in First Round Playoff Win

The Portland Raider football team hosted the Hornets of Central Montcalm on Friday night in the Pre-District round of the MHSAA Division 5 playoffs. The Raiders came into the game 7-2 after suffering losses in the final two games of their regular season. The Hornets also entered the game 7-2 with losses to Reed City in week seven and Millington in week nine.

After a short kickoff by the Hornets, the Raiders offense started off on their own 35. On the very first play, senior Gavin McGregor broke free for a 65-yard touchdown run. Junior Cameron Roof connected on the point after that Portland jumped out to an early 7-0 lead with 11:43 remaining in the first.

Roof put the ensuing kickoff deep into the Hornet endzone and Central Montcalm’s offense started on their own 20. The Hornets were able to move the ball for a first down on their 38. A few plays later the Raider defense would force the Hornets into a fourth and one. Hornet senior QB Andrew Johnson attempted to run the ball up the middle but was stopped short by the Raiders defense and turned the ball over on down.

The Raider offense would start with great field position at the Hornet 40. After strong runs by senior Jordan Selby, senior Blake Meyers and McGregor, Portland would be sitting on the Hornet one-yard line. Senior QB Owen Russell capped of the drive with a one-yard touchdown behind the right side of his offensive line. Roof connected on the point after and the Raiders went ahead 14-0 with 6:37 remaining in the first quarter.

Roof’s kickoff was caught in endzone and the Hornets would start on their own 20 once again. A first down run by senior Teague Donazzolo would move the Hornets out to the 39. A penalty on the Hornets would force them into a third and 14 and an eventual punt.

Portland’s offense started on their own 35. On third down Selby would pick up a big run moving the ball to the Raider 49. A first down run by Meyers would place the ball on the Hornet 24. A few plays latter McGregor would run the ball to the Central Montcalm 11, and just after the second quarter began, Russell would connect with McGregor on a six-yard touchdown pass. Roof’s PAT was good and with 11:54 remaining in the second quarter, the Raiders led 21-0.

After a short kickoff return, the Hornet offense would start their possession on their own 26. After a near interception by the Raider secondary, and a timeout called by Portland, the Hornets would eventually punt.

The Portland offense started on their own 45, but for the first time of the evening they would be forced punt. The punt was downed at the Central Montcalm 22.

On third and five, Johnson connected with senior receiver Gunner Hill for a first down at the 34. Johnson would then be sacked by Raider sophomore Reis Phillips for a loss. The third down run play was stuffed by the Raider defense and the Hornets would again be forced to punt.

Portland would start on their own 46. After first down runs by Selby and Meyers, the Raider drive would stall and Portland would punt to the Hornets.

Central Montcalm’s offense took the field at their own 18 with only 4:22 remaining in the second quarter. After a second down pass attempt was knocked down by senior David Svanda, the third down pass was intercepted by senior Carson Frewen and the Raiders offense would start on the Hornet 30.

After face mask call on Central Montcalm, the Raiders would move to the Hornet 12-yard line. A few plays later Meyers would punch it into the endzone for a two-yard touchdown run. Roof’s PAT was good and with 1:19 before halftime, Portland extended their lead to 28-0.

On the following kickoff, the Hornets would see their biggest play of the evening when Donazzolo broke free for a big return. He was tackled by the Raiders kicker Roof on the Portland 42. After a penalty on the Raiders, the Hornets would have a first and 10 on the Raider 20. With the Hornets sitting in their best offensive position of the night, the Raider defense would come up huge pushing the Hornets into a fourth and 15. The fourth down pass fell incomplete and the Raiders took over on their own 25 with only 24 seconds left in the half.

After a nine-yard run by Roof, the Raiders would let the remaining seconds tick away and both teams went to the locker room with the Raiders up 28-0.

The Hornets would receive the kick to start the second half. Their return put them on their own 35. After one first down run and another near interception, the Hornets would be forced to punt.

The Portland offense took over on their own 13 with 10:50 left in the third. McGregor broke free for a long touchdown run, but it was called back due to a block in back. After the penalty, the Raiders would get a first down run by Selby. QB Russell then connected with McGregor for another first down at the Portland 43. A few plays later McGregor would pick up another nice gain and the ball would be sitting on the Central Montcalm 34. That is where Roof would break free from the Hornet defense for a 34-yard touchdown run.

As the Raiders lined up for the point after, the Portland student section erupted as sophomore kicker Madison Luxmore would enter the game for the point after attempt. Luxmore was one of a handful of Portland JV players moved up for the playoffs. She would connect on the point after and we believe she is now first female student-athlete to score a point in the history of Portland varsity football.

The PAT extended Portland lead to 35-0 with 7:07 remaining in the third.

The Hornet offense would start on their own 30 after the Portland kickoff. After a strong offensive drive, the Hornets would move the ball down to the Raider 14-yard line. As Central Montcalm was within reach of the endzone, the Raider defense stepped up and forced the Hornets into a fourth and 12. As the game moved into the fourth quarter, the fourth down pass would fall incomplete and the Raiders would take over on their own 15 with 11:35 left in the game.

Sophomore Haden Getchell, senior Michael Gross and senior Zach Schrauben would pick up nice runs for the Raider offense in the drive and move the ball to the Hornet 42-yard line, and the Raiders would take a knee to end the contest with Portland winning 35-0.

Portland Rushing Stats:

Gavin McGregor 9 for 122, 1 TD

Jordan Selby 6 for 44

Blake Meyers 8 for 57, 1 TD

Owen Russell 3 for 0, 1 TD

Cameron Roof 4 for 49, 1 TD

Haden Getchell 5 for 38

Zach Schrauben 3 for 10

Michael Gross 4 for 19

Portland Passing Stats:

Owen Russell 2 for 5 for 25, 1 TD

Portland Defense Stats:

Carson Frewen 8 tackles, 1 INT

Kobe Kazamer 8 tackles

To see a video of Portland head coach John Novara speaking with the media after the Central Montcalm contest, please visit the Beacon Facebook page.

The Raiders will host familiar foe Lansing Catholic next Friday night. The Cougars won a hard-fought battle with Olivet on Friday night, picking up a 28-21 victory.

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