• James Townsend

Portland Football Defeats GR West Catholic


The Portland Raider football team traveled to Grand Rapids West Catholic on Friday night for a 2020 Division 5 district semi-final match up. Both teams entered the game with only one regular-season loss in this COVID shortened 2020 high school football season.

The two teams have met on the field in the playoffs several times in recent years, most notably in 2012 when Portland defeated the Falcons 12-9 at Ford Field for the Division 5 State Championship. The Falcons would go on to win the state championship for the next five consecutive years, 2013 through 2017.

West Catholic was the first team on the scoreboard on Friday night when they scored on a three-yard TD run with 3:43 remaining in the first to take an early 7-0 lead.

The Raiders struck back shortly after when junior QB Haden Getchell broke free for an 82-yard touchdown run. Senior kicker Cameron Roof’s point after was good, tying the score at 7-7 with 2:08 remaining in the first.

With 4:38 left in the second quarter, Portland would take the lead when junior running back Reis Phillips scored on a 21-yard TD run. Roof connected on the extra point making the score 14-7.

The first half would come to an end with that same score.

With 4:33 left in third, the Falcons would strike again, this time on a one-yard run. The PAT was good and the score stood tied at 14-14.

As the third quarter progressed, West Catholic was able to build a bit of momentum. After another long offensive drive, the Falcons would score on a five-yard run. After the successful point after, the Falcons would take a 21-14 lead with 11:41 left in the fourth.

As the game moved on, the resilient Raiders were able to swing the momentum back in their favor. Portland’s Getchell would pick up his second touchdown of the night, this time on a 16-yard run with 6:43 left in the fourth. Roof’s PAT was good and the Raiders tied the game at 21-21.

After Portland’s defense came up with a huge stop, the Falcon defense forced the Raiders into a punt situation deep in their own end of the field. A roughing the kicker penalty on West Catholic would give the Raiders a crucial first down. The Portland offense was able to regain some steam and move the ball into Falcon territory. With 2:12 left in the game, Portland junior Trent Trierweiler would carry multiple Falcon tacklers into the endzone on an 18-yard touchdown run. Roof’s point after would give the Raiders a 28-21 lead.

West Catholic would get the ball back with plenty of time left on the clock, but the Raider defense forced a fumble which Portland recovered. Portland would be able to run out the clock and pick up a huge 28-21 victory.

Scoring Summary by Quarter:

Portland 7-7-0-14 = 28

WC 7-0-7-7 = 21

Portland Rushing Leaders:

Haden Getchell 14 carries for 156 yards with 2 TD's

Reis Phillips 11 carries for 62 yards and 1 TD

Caden Galey 9 carries for 43 yards

Trent Trierweiler 6 carries for 44 yards and 1 TD

Portland Defensive Leaders:

Chandler Murton 12 tackles

Branson Goodman 9 tackles

Reese Townsend 8 tackles

After the game, Portland Head Coach John Novara said, “Proud of our kids, we battled through some injuries and made some big plays when we needed them. West Catholic is a very good football team and they are well-coached. It was an exciting football game, we just made some timely plays.”

You can see additional comments from Novara in the video below:


Portland advances to the district championship contest with Grand Rapids Catholic Central. The Cougars finished their regular season with a perfect 6-0 record. After a pre-district bye, they defeated Belding 41-6 in their district semi-final match-up on Friday night.

The powerful Cougar offense is averaging over 39 points per game while giving up an average of only 15 points per game.

The Raiders and Cougars will play at Grand Rapids Catholic Central. The date and time are not yet determined.

Kayla Weller assisted in the writing of this piece.

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