Portland Football earns Regional Championship with 21-14 win over Niles
On Friday evening, the Portland High School football team traveled roughly two and a half hours to face the Viking of Niles in the MHSAA regional finals.
The 2023 Niles team was said to be one of the best in the program’s history, and they certainly displayed some tenacity on Friday.
Niles would strike first in their very first possession of the game taking a 7-0 lead early.
In the second quarter of play, Portland would strike back when junior quarterback Domonic Novara connected with junior Evan Gross on a 16-yard touchdown pass.
The teams would head to halftime tied 7-7.
Neither team was able to find the endzone in the third quarter of play.
In the fourth quarter of the Portland would take the lead when senior running back Caden Thelen broke free for a 51-yard touchdown run.
The Raiders would score again taking a 21-7 lead when Novara scored on a 44-yard bootleg run himself.
With under six minutes remaining in the game, Niles would score one more time, this time on a two-yard run.
The Raiders would go on to secure a 21-14 victory, and a MHSAA Division 5 Regional Championship.
Portland senior running back Caden Thelen led the Raider offense with 31 carries and 170 yards.
You can watch Portland head coach John Novara's post game comments in the video below.
You can watch a video of PHS senior Caden Thelen accepting the Regional trophy in the video below.
The Raiders will move on to the state semi-finals next week where they will face Grand Rapids South Christian at Forest Hills Eastern. Kickoff is set for 1:00 on Saturday, November 18th.
The Sailors of Grand Rapids South Christian finished their regular season with a 6-3 record. Those three losses came from some pretty solid opponents. They lost to East Grand Rapids 23-21 in week two, to Grand Rapids Catholic Central 21-12 in week eight, and to Wayland 21-12 in week nine.
In the playoffs, South Christian defeated Wayland 34-7, and beat Ada Forest Hills Eastern 22-14 to secure the district title.
South Christian defeated Big Rapids 55-35 to win their regional championship.
The other MHSAA Division 5 semifinal contest will feature Goodrich and Harper Woods.
The winners of the two semifinal contests will face off at Ford Field in Detroit on Saturday, November 25th at 1:00 PM for the Division 5 State Championship.