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  • Jim Townsend

Raider Football Season Ends in District Finals

Portland hosted long time rival Lansing Catholic on Friday night in the MHSAA Division 5 Region 2 District 2 Championship game. The Raiders beat the Cougars earlier in the season 21-20, but in the rematch the Cougars turned the tables.

Despite building momentum at a few points in the night, the powerful Raider offense had difficulty sustaining long drives, and the Portland defense struggled to contain Cougar QB Zach Gillespie both in the air and on the ground.

The first quarter saw both offenses forced into punt situations and the quarter ended with the score 0-0.

As the second quarter began, Portland’s punt would start the Cougar offense at their own 33. The Cougars would gain five first downs, three on QB keeps by Gillespie himself, in a 67-yard scoring drive capped off with an eight-yard TD run by senior Mitch Raphael with 4:38 remaining in the second quarter. Sophomore kicker Jonah Richards connected on the point after, putting the Cougars up 7-0.

The score at halftime would remain 7-0.

The Raiders would have the ball to start the second half of play, but fumbled near mid-field and the Cougars took over at the Portland 47.

Gillespie connected with one of his receivers to move the ball to the Raider one-yard line, and Gillespie punched it into the endzone himself on the following play. Richards connected on the point after and the Cougars extended their lead to 14-0 with 10:03. Remaining in the third.

In the fourth quarter of play, Gillespie scrambled 20 yards for the Cougars third and final touchdown of the game. After Richards connect on the PAT, the Cougars extended their lead to 21-0.

The Portland season would end with an overall record of 8-3.

The Cougars move on to host Kalamazoo Hackett Catholic Prep (7-4) in the regional championship.

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