By Curtis Marlin
Sep 13, 2017
The Portland Panthers turned two of five Montgomery Central turnovers into a pair of scores and the Purple went on to defeat the visitors from Clarksville 34-0 on Saturday, Sept. 2, at Memorial Field/Edgar Johnson Stadium.
The contest had been postponed from the night before by the remnants of Tropical Harvey after rain deluged the area for two days.
For the Panthers, it was a much-needed win after two disappointing losses to open the season.
Portland struck three times in the first half in building a 20-0 advantage at intermission. The Indians turned the football over five times and reached the Portland 25-yard line on three possessions but came away empty.
The Indians accumulated 151 yards in the contest.
“Our defense has bent some this season,” Cavanah pointed out. “But we have a lot of kids running to the football and I like their quickness.”
The Panthers scored first after an Indian fumble at the 15. Noah Horn busted through the defense on a ten-yard run with Camrin Lyle making the conversion kick leading to 7-0 lead.
The Indians closed the first quarter on a seven-play drive to the Purple 21. However, a 35-yard field goal fell short and the home team took over at the 21.
Portland put together an eight-play series with runs by Joshua Fadeley, Horn, Quarterback Caleb Mandrell, and Drake Vanatta to move the football to the 27. But the Panthers struck pay dirt through the air as Vanatta beat his defender on a passing route and hauled in a 27-yard strike from Mandrell.
The Panthers would score just before intermission as Brewster took off on a 42-yard touchdown jaunt and the home team led 20-0 at the break.
Portland used a 99-yard, nine-play possession to put the game away with Mandrell connecting with Vanatta on a 70-yard scoring toss. Vanatta made the catch at the 50, shook off a would-be tackler at the 30, and went in untouched for the score.
Mandrell completed the two-point conversion pass to Cody Whitfield for a 28-0 cushion at the 3:55 mark of the third period.
Brewster recovered another Indian fumble at the 25 and Fadeley capped a two-play series by going in from 18 yards out.
Portland threatened late in the game after a 35-yard interception return by Jackson Webb deep in Indian territory but couldn’t cash in on the opportunity.
The Panthers finished with 346 yards as Brewster gained 75 yards, Mandrell added 56, and Fadeley had 53. Mandrell completed two passes to Vanatta for touchdowns.
“This is a big region win, but we still have a lot of football to play,” Cavanah said.