The Portland Panthers (2-4; 2-1 Region 5-4A) got their second win of the season following a 21-0 shutout over the White House-Heritage Patriots (0-6; 0-3 Region 5-4A). Portland found a way on the road to keep the Patriots off the scoreboard, as two second-half touchdowns propelled them to a region win.
“It’s huge,” Portland Head Coach Greg Cavanah said. We’ve been so close this year in so many different games, but couldn’t pull it through. Hopefully this will be the one that puts us over the hump.”
The first score of the night came at the 9:48 in the second quarter, when sophomore quarterback Caleb Mandrell called his own number from 4 yards out. Moments later, Portland recovered the ensuing kickoff and set up 6 yards out from a score. However, the Patriots, on the ensuing play, recovered a fumble.
The Panthers did find their second score of the evening later in the second quarter. Junior Noah Horn hit the end zone from 2 yards out, putting Portland ahead 14-0.
“I thought I was going down, but I just kept my feet going, and he flew off me,” Horn said. “It feels great to get our second win.”
Horn came up big on defense for his team as well. Midway through the fourth quarter, he recorded a third-down sack on Heritage quarterback Jalen Witham.
“It’s tiring (playing both sides of the ball), but it is fun at the same time,” he said. “I like doing it.”
Portland recorded its third score of the night early in the fourth quarter when Mandrell’s keeper worked on second-and-goal for the score.
Ahead 21-0 with 11:09 left, the Panthers walked into their second region-win of the season. Portland relied heavily on its run game in the Week 6 win.
“We’re coming into our own in understanding what we can do offensively and defensively,” Cavanah said. “We have some good backs that can run hard, and we have some backs that can block hard as well. It doesn’t make sense not to do that (run the ball).
“Heritage played hard. They’re young, they’ve had a lot of injuries this year. Own older kids had a lot of experience, and tonight that is what showed.
The game was not all golden for the team in purple, however. The Panthers found themselves on the wrong end of multiple holding penalties.
“A whole lot of penalties on our side,” Cavanah said. “We have to get our hands inside. Those were effort penalties, not penalties were a kid lost his composure. We just got to get cleaned up, especially if we are going to play the number one team in the district next week.”
Portland will return home next week to host the undefeated White House Blue Devils (5-0; 1-0 Region 5-4A). The game is scheduled for kickoff at 7:00 p.m. in Portland.