Portland had their unofficial opening to the football season on Friday night as they welcomed nearby Westmoreland for the annual jamboree at Memorial Field.
Fans at Edgar Johnson Stadium got to see each team’s varsity, junior varsity and freshmen squads play two quarters each during the night.
Varsity action began the night as the two sides played to a scoreless opening quarter. The Panthers got on the board first as quarterback Caleb Mandrell connected with Darius Bell to set up a 4-yard scoring run from Devyn Fuqua to give the Panthers a 7-0 lead.
Westmoreland quickly responded on the ensuing drive, as Quinton Sizemore was able to get behind the Panther defense and reel in a Ryker Hodge pass for the score. Sizemore added the extra point to tie things back at 7-7, which is where things stood at the end of the two quarters of play.
Panther coach Greg Cavanah was pleased overall with his team, though he wants to see them clean things up, as penalties halted some offensive momentum.
“I thought we got after each other pretty good, both teams did,” Cavanah said. “I thought Westmoreland did a good job of coming out and stopping us early. We started running the ball, moved the ball efficiently, but had some bad snaps, some fumbles and some penalties and that set us back. Those are the things I’ve been talking about that we have to get cleaned up. When we get those things cleaned up, we’ll be able to help ourselves.”
Despite the long touchdown pass, Cavanah has liked what he’s seen defensively from his team.
“I’ve been pleased with them so far because we’re so young defensively. I say we’re young because a lot of our starters on the line are going both ways, but they don’t have a lot of defensive experience. I’m pleased with the fact that they’re trying to get better. They’re working to get better.”
The Panthers came out ahead in both the junior varsity and freshmen action, taking those 14-8 and 6-0, respectively.
The Panthers officially kick off the regular season on Friday night as they travel to Warren East High School in Bowling Green to take on Edmonson County. Kickoff set for 6 p.m.