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First half dooms West

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PORTLAND - Our Week 2 Game of the Week took place Wednesday, August 23 at Edgar Johnson Stadium, on a perfect night in Portland. Unfortunately for the host town Panthers, the weather would be the best part of the night as they dropped to 0-2 at the hands of rival White House, 20-8.

The Blue Devils were led on offense by running back Montrel Black, who rushed for two touchdowns in his final middle school game against the Panthers. Black's first touchdown was set up by a 40-yard pass-and-catch from quarterback Ranen Blackburn to wide out Bryson Harper, down the right sideline.

Up 6-0 just four minutes into the first quarter, the White House defense forced Portland West into a punting situation to end the quarter. Receiving the ball at its own 41, White House marched down inside the 20 on various runs by Black and Blackburn.

On first-and-10 from the 20, Blackburn found Christian York in the flat, allowing York to rumble for the touchdown and the 12-0 lead. Blackburn used a quarterback keeper to push the lead to 14-0 with 4:47 left in the half.

The Blue Devil defense did a great job all night long stopping the Panthers on offense by limiting first downs. The Panthers entered the fourth quarter with just three first-down conversions.

White House extended its lead to 20-0 before taking out the starters with 1:38 left in the third quarter. Black scored his second touchdown of the night from 10 yards out after the offense picked up two first downs on the drive.

Portland West would strike for six on fourth down late in the fourth quarter. Facing a fourth-and-long, Portland West quarterback Caeson Utley found a streaking Isaac West for six but the damage had already been done. Braylen Dowlen converted on the two-point conversion to bring the final score to 20-8 White House.

"Defense played really well tonight," White House head coach Brian Wise said. "We ran to the football and set the edge whenever they wanted to run their jet sweeps. We gave up a couple cut back runs but kids played hard and were able to overcome some mental lapses.

"We punted a lot last year and I got tired of watching it," Wise said of his team's fourth down conversions. "I told our offensive coordinator, I told our players at the start of summer - don't plan on punting this year unless we are backed up or it doesn't make sense to go for it. The kids have accepted that mindset and I think it showed tonight."

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