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  • James Townsend

Raiders top Ionia to stay unbeaten in CAAC White

The Portland High School football team traveled to Ionia on Friday night for both teams second league contest of the season.

After receiving the opening kick, the Ionia offense drove the ball deep into Portland territory before the drive stalled and they turned the ball over on downs.

The Raiders would start on their own 11 and wasted little time. Senior running back Drew Miller broke free for a 76-yard touchdown run. Junior kicker Aiden Pulling connected on the extra point and Portland had a 7-0 lead with 3:39 remaining in the first quarter.

The Bulldogs would start their next possession on their own 25, and the Portland defense would force them to punt, giving Portland the ball at the Ionia 41.

The Raider offense would strike again quickly, this time on a 38-yard touchdown run by junior running back Caden Thelen. The extra point was no good and Portland’s lead sat at 13-0 with 1:04 remaining in the first.

In the ensuing possession, Ionia would pick up their first and only score of the night when junior quarterback Travis Tucker Jr. broke free for a 72-yard touchdown run. Ionia’s extra point was blocked, and Portland’s lead moved to 13-6 with 37.8 seconds remaining in the first quarter.

The Raiders would start their next possession on their own 38. They were able to drive deep into Bulldog territory, but were unable to score and turned the ball over on downs.

Ionia started on their own 11, but the Portland junior Kaleb Bower intercept the ball giving Portland excellent position at the Ionia 17 after a penalty on Ionia.

The Raiders would find the endzone just a few plays later on a three-yard run by senior quarterback Marc Nobis. Portland failed on the point after attempt and the score moved to Portland 19, Ionia 6, with 4:04 left in the second quarter.

The Bulldog offense started their next possession at their own 36 and was able to move into Portland’s side of the field before the Raider defense came up with another stop giving Portland the ball at their own eight with 21.4 seconds left on the clock. Portland was unable to score and the score sat at Portland 19, Ionia 6, at halftime.

To start the second half of play, Portland would piece together a 65-yard scoring drive, capped off with a five-yard touchdown run by Caden Thelen. Nobis connected with sophomore Barrett Brennen on a pass to make good on the two-point conversion extending Portland’s lead to 27-6 with 7:55 remaining in the third.

After the teams exchanged possessions, Ionia would start again on their own 20. Portland junior defense back Conner Kazamer would intercept the Ionia pass near mid-field and run it back to Ionia’s 30 to set the Portland offense.

The Raiders would find the endzone soon after when senior running back Branson Goodman punch it in from 13-yards out. Pulling connected on the point after and the Raiders would lead 34-6 with 10:56 left in the game.

After the dominant Raider defense forced Ionia to punt once again, Portland’s offense would start on their own 15 with nine minutes left in the game. The Raiders would burn up plenty of yards and clock time, finally scoring on a two-yard touchdown run by junior Kaleb Bower with 3:02 remaining on the clock. Pulling’s kick was good and Portland would extend their lead to 41-6.

Neither team would score in the final minutes and Portland secured a 41-6 victory.

With the win, Portland improves to 3-1 overall, 2-0 in the CAAC White. Next week they host Lansing Sexton for Homecoming on Friday night. Sexton is currently 2-2 overall and 1-1 in the CAAC White. In league play, Sexton defeated Ionia 18-14, and lost to Lansing Catholic 35-0.

With the loss to Portland, Ionia moves to 1-3 overall, and 0-2 in the CAAC White. They will travel to unbeaten Charlotte next week.

According to the MHSAA, current Capital Area Activities Conference-White standings are:

Team W-L (Conference) W-L (Overall)

Charlotte 2-0 4-0

Portland 2-0 3-1

Lansing Sexton 1-1 2-2

Lansing Catholic 1-1 1-3

Ionia 0-2 1-3

Eaton Rapids 0-2 0-4

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