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  • James Townsend

Defense leads Raiders to first-round playoff win

Portland hosted the Eagles of Olivet on Friday night for the first round of the MHSAA Division 5 football playoffs.

Olivet picked up the first points of the contest in their first possession. The clock consuming drive was capped off by a 12-yard touchdown pass by quarterback Bo Lincoln to receiver Brady Lehman. The Olivet extra point by Ramsey Brosseau was good, giving the Eagles a 7-0 lead in the first quarter.

The Raiders wasted little time striking back. Junior running back Caden Thelen’s kick off return set Portland’s offense up at the Portland 47. Senior running back Branson Goodman’s first down run moved the ball into Eagle territory. Portland would reach the endzone when senior quarterback Marc Nobis connected with sophomore Chris Battley on a 23-yard touchdown pass. Junior kicker Aiden Pulling’s extra point was good and the score was tied 7-7 with 20 seconds remaining in the first quarter.

On Olivet’s next possession, Portland senior linebacker Noah Simpson came up with a huge stop on 4th and three to cause a turnover on downs.

The Raiders took their first lead of the night when senior running back Drew Miller punched it in for a five-yard touchdown. Pulling connected on the point after and Portland led 14-7 with 7:18 remaining in the second quarter.

The Eagles would start their next possession on their own 29, and started to find some momentum, but the Portland defense came up with another big stop, forcing the Eagles to punt.

The Raiders offense would take over at their own 25 with just over six minutes remaining in the first half. Portland was able to drive deep into Eagle territory but was unable to score. The teams went to halftime with Portland leading 14-7.

In the third quarter of play, the Raiders found the endzone again, this time on a one yard run by Goodman. Pulling nailed the extra point and Portland led 21-7 with 2:41 remaining in the third.

Olivet’s offense started their next possession on their own 26. The Eagle offense found some momentum on the drive. Using a bit of trickery, Lincoln would pitch the ball to Ramsey Brosseau who then connected with Feldpausch for a 38-yard touchdown pass. Brosseau’s extra point was good and the score was Portland 21, Olivet 14 with 1:17 remaining in the third.

Early in the fourth quarter, both defenses would force turn over on downs.

With 5:53 remaining in the game, a Portland punt would set the Eagle offense up at the Olivet 39. Olivet was able to move the ball into Portland territory and found themselves sitting first and goal at Portland’s nine-yard line with 1:57 left on the clock.

The Portland defense would shine in the closing minutes of the game. Portland senior defensive end Carson Martin knocked down an Eagle pass setting up second and goal at the nine.

On the next play Battley would sack the Olivet quarterback putting Olivet at 3rd and goal at the 15. A false start on the Eagles would move the ball to third and goal on the 20 with just 51 seconds remaining.

On the following play an Olivet pass into the endzone was knocked down by junior Kaleb Bower and Thelen setting up 4th and goal for the Eagles on the 20-yard line with just 46 seconds left.

For their last chance at tying the game, Lincoln would drop back to pass, but the pass was intercepted by Portland’s Miller and run back across midfield.

The Raiders would take a knee to run out the clock and secure a 21-14 victory.

Scoring summary:

1st – 2nd – 3rd – 4th – Final

Portland 7 – 7 – 7 – 0 – 21

Olivet 7 – 0 – 7 – 0 – 14

Portland Rushing Totals:

Drew Miller 27 carries for 186 yards, one touchdown.

Branson Goodman 12 carries for 60 yards and one touchdown.

Portland Passing Totals:

Marc Nobis 4 for 9 for 61 yards and one touchdown.

Portland Receiving Totals:

Chris Battley 2 for 39 yards and one touchdown.

Branson Goodman 2 for 22 yards.

Portland Defensive Totals:

Conner Kazamer 12 tackles.

Caden Thelen 10 tackles.

Drew Miller 5 tackles and 1 interception.

You can watch video of Portland head coach John Novara’s post game comments at the link below.

With the win Portland advances to host Corunna next week. The game time/date is not yet listed on the MHSAA website but it will likely be a 7:00 PM Friday kickoff.

The Cavaliers of Corunna finished the regular season 8-2, with their only losses coming to Goodrich in week five, and Ovid-Elsie in week nine. In their first playoff game, Corunna defeated Williamston 34-7.

You can see Corunna’s full schedule with scores below from the MHSAA.

Photos courtesy of Brian Foreback.


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