• James Townsend

Raiders Grind Out 21-14 Victory Over OE in Season Opener

On Thursday evening, high school football kicked off for the 2021 season as the Portland Raiders traveled to Ovid-Elsie for the two programs annual season opening match-up.

The Marauders jumped out to an early lead when they returned the opening kick-off for a 79-yard touchdown. After connecting on the point after, Ovid-Elsie led 7-0.

After exchanging a couple of punts and fumbles, the Raiders would start their first scoring drive on the Marauder 29. With 2:15 remaining in the first, Portland senior running back Caden Galey broke free for a 18-yard touch down run. Senior kicker Madison Luxmore connected on the point after and the teams were tied at seven a piece.

OE would start their next drive at their own 44. The Marauders made it into Portland territory before senior Ethan Patrick picked off an OE pass at the Portland 25 early in the second quarter.

After a Portland punt, the Red Raiders would get the ball back again when Patrick picked off a second OE pass, this time putting Portland at the OE 27 with 7:49 remaining in the second. A few plays later Galey would find the endzone again, this time from 10-yards out. Luxmore converted on the point after and the Raiders had a 14-7 lead.

The Marauders would come back with a 56-yard offensive drive, capped off with a 4-yard touchdown run by senior Eddy Evans. After the successful point after, the teams were tied at 14 with 12 second remaining in the half.

The score would remain tied at halftime.

OE would kick off to start the second half, and after recovering a squib kick, OE had the ball at their own 49. The Raider defense held strong and forced a turnover on downs.

In their next possession, OE would start at their own 34. Portland’s Patrick picked up his third interception of the evening, this time setting Portland up at the OE 38.

Neither team was able to score again and the third quarter came to an end with the teams still knotted at 14.

The Marauders ate up much of the clock in the fourth quarter driving the ball deep into Portland territory. The Raider defense came up huge once again, and recovered an OE fumble at the Portland 13 with 1:48 left in the game.

The Raider offense would find success late in the game as senior quarterback Haden Getchell found some holes in the solid OE defense. With just 57 seconds left in the game, and with Raider fans on the edge of their seats, Getchell connected with senior receiver Trent Meyers for a 37-yard touchdown pass. Luxmore connected on the point after, giving the Raiders a 21-14 lead.

As the closing seconds ticked away, the OE offense made some threatening progress down the field, but the Portland defense came up strong one final time and secured the 21-14 victory.

After the game, Portland head coach John Novara told the Beacon his team had, “just too many mistakes. Ovid-Elsie always plays us tough. They have tough kids. They are a good football team, but we just made so many mistakes. We left plays out on the field. I think we just need to clean things up in a hurry because we are going to play the number one team in the state.”

Portland’s next game is at home on Thursday, September 2nd when they host the DeWitt Panthers. The reigning division three state champion Panthers opened their season on Thursday night with a solid 47-27 defeat over Traverse City Central at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor.

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