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  • James Townsend

Raider football falls to DeWitt in final minute

The Portland Raiders traveled to DeWitt on Thursday night for week two action in the high school football season. Both teams entered the game ranked in their respective divisions. DeWitt ranked 2nd in division two, and Portland ranked 4th in division five.

In the first varsity game on DeWitt’s new artificial turf, the first quarter was all Panthers. DeWitt scored twice in the quarter and forced Portland to one punt.

The Raiders would pick up their first score with 11:10 remaining in the second quarter when senior quarterback Marc Nobis connected with sophomore receiver Christopher Battley for a 62-yard touchdown pass. Portland’s point after was no good and the score moved to 14-6.

DeWitt would waste little time in striking back and scored on an 80-yard kick off return. The extra point was good and the score moved to DeWitt 21, Portland 6.

Portland quickly retaliated with a special teams score of their own when senior Drew Miller returned the Panther kickoff 85 yards for a Portland touchdown. Portland’s two-point attempt failed and the score was DeWitt 21, Portland 12, with 10:42 remaining in the second quarter.

After both teams exchanged punts, DeWitt would reach the endzone again on a 58-yard touchdown pass. The two-point conversion was no good and DeWitt extended their lead to 27-12 with 5:36 remaining in the quarter.

After another Portland punt, the Panthers drove deep into Raider territory. The Portland defense would stand strong on their own goal line, forcing a fumble on the one-yard line that was recovered by the Raiders.

The Raider offense wasted little time and Nobis quickly connected with Battley once again. This time for 99-yard touchdown pass. Portland successfully converted the two-point conversion and DeWitt’s lead was cut to 27-20 with 1:55 remaining in the second quarter.

The Raider defense would force another key turnover, this time intercepting a DeWitt pass, and setting the Portland offense up on DeWitt’s 30 with 1:04 before halftime. Portland capitalized on the opportunity when Nobis connected with Miller for the touchdown. Portland’s point after was good, and the score was tied at 27 with 16.8 seconds remaining until halftime.

The Panther offense opted to take a knee to end the first half and the teams entered halftime tied.

The Panthers next score came with 5:33 remaining in the third quarter on a two-yard touchdown run. The point after was blocked and DeWitt led 33-27.

Early in the fourth quarter, Portland found themselves in excellent position after taking advantage of a bad snap on a DeWitt punt. The Raider offense started on the DeWitt 15. Unfortunately, the Raiders were unable to score, and DeWitt intercepted a Portland pass in the endzone.

After forcing the Panthers to punt, Portland’s offense took the field again at their own 34 with 4:25 remaining in the game. The Raider offense made a gritty drive deep into Panther territory. The drive was capped off with a 22-yard touchdown run by Miller.

Portland junior kicker Aiden Pulling connected on the key extra point, and Portland had their first lead of the night, 34-33, with only one minute remaining in the game.

The Panther offense started at their own 31 with just 53.8 seconds remaining in the game. DeWitt managed the clock well, and moved the ball to Portland’s 22-yard line with 22 seconds remaining. The Panthers would get a go ahead 22-yard touchdown with just 15.3 seconds left in the game. The conversion attempt was no good, and DeWitt had a 39-34 lead.

After multiple kicks out of bounds by DeWitt’s kicker, Portland would take over the ball at its own 42 with just 9.5 seconds left the game. The Raiders were unable to score in the final possession.

The Panthers would walk away with a 39-34 victory.

Scoring summary by quarter:

1st – 2nd – 3rd – 4th – Final

Portland 0 – 27 – 0 – 7 – 34

DeWitt 14 – 13 – 6 – 6 – 39

DeWitt improves to 2-0 on the season. Next Friday they travel to perennial powerhouse Detroit Catholic Central. CC lost to Chippewa Valley 20-16 in week one. Their week two game is scheduled for today against Davison.

Portland moves to 1-1 on the year. Next Friday they travel to Eaton Rapids to start CAAC White play. The Greyhounds are currently 0-2 after losing to Jackson Northwest 28-6 in week one, and Clio 34-16 in week two.


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