Portage Northern football grabbed a 56-26 victory over Portage Central in the first meeting between the crosstown rivals at the new McCamley Field. A big second half and six touchdowns of 50+ yards pushed the Huskies to victory and a 3-0 start to the 2019 season.
Despite the lopsided final score, the game was tied 14-14 at halftime and had a 21-20 score early in the third quarter. The turning point would be a 60-yard interception touchdown by Cory Cunningham midway through the third, giving PN their first multi-score lead. It would be the second of five consecutive Husky touchdowns as running backs Tyler Amos and Anthony Tyus III took control of the game. The tandem rushed for more than 400 yards and scored seven of Portage Northern’s eight touchdowns.
PN forced a three-and-out to start the game, then scored on their opening drive. 49 of the drive’s 51 yards came via Amos, including a three-yard TD run for the 7-0 start. Mustang quarterback Luke Leto would answer with a 70-yard TD run midway through the opening frame. After trading punts, Tyus took off on a 50-yard scamper to start the second quarter for a 14-7 Husky advantage.
Portage Central’s third drive was a punt, but they earned the ball back on a fumble. Portage Northern’s defense forced a turnover-on-downs near the red zone, but coughed the ball up again on another fumble with 43 seconds left in the half. The Mustangs made it to the 18-yard line with seven seconds remaining and opted to go for the endzone. Leto tossed it up and found Grant Pikkaart with one second to spare, sending the game to halftime even at 14-14.
The Huskies would only need nine seconds to reclaim the lead to start the third quarter as Tyus took the kickoff return to the house. The initial kick went out of bounds, but PN made PC re-kick and was rewarded for that choice with a Tyus touchdown.
The Mustangs scored on the ensuing drive with a little luck on a six-yard TD pass. Leto’s pass was tipped by linebacker Greg Lapetina, but luckily to receiver Jake Drews for PC. Trouble with the snap and hold on the extra point try kept the Mustangs down 21-20 with 8:47 remaining in the third. From there on out, it would be all Huskies, beginning with a 65-yard Amos TD run to open the next drive.
Cunningham’s pick-six came on the next Mustang drive, then an 82-yard Tyus dash pushed the score to 42-20 by the end of the third quarter. Amos added a 15-yard touchdown run and Tyus exploded for another 86-yard score from there. Portage Central would get the final touchdown on a 63-yard Leto rush, but it would be the students in orange celebrating in the endzone at night’s end, getting some revenge from last regular season’s loss in the first-ever PC/PN game at the new Huskie Stadium.
Unofficially, Tyus racked up 255 rushing yards on only 10 carries, finishing with four total TDs. Amos tallied 191 on 22 attempts with three scores.
The defeat drops Portage Central to 1-2 overall after their first SMAC West game of the season. The Mustangs return home in week four against a solid Battle Creek Central squad. Four of their final six foes made the playoffs last year, giving PC a challenging road ahead to extend their own postseason streak.
The victory puts Portage Northern at 3-0 and 2-0 within division play. The Huskies travel east in week four in a non-conference match with East Lansing. The Trojans, 9-2 last season, handed the Huskies a 30-20 defeat one year ago.
PN- 3 yard rush Tyler Amos, Cam Adams PAT (7:19)
PC- 70 yard rush Luke Leto, Yidana Mumuni PAT (5:59)
PN- 53 yard rush Anthony Tyus III, Adams PAT (11:51)
PC- 18 yard pass Grant Pikkaart from Luke Leto, Mumuni PAT (0:01)
PN- 80 yard kick return Anthony Tyus III, Adams PAT (11:49)
PC- 6 yard pass Jake Drews from Luke Leto, PAT Fail (8:47)
PN- 65 yard rush Tyler Amos, Adams PAT (8:29)
PN- 60 yard interception Cory Cunningham, Adams PAT (6:03)
PN- 82 yard rush Anthony Tyus III, Adams PAT (3:51)
PN- 15 yard rush Tyler Amos, Adams PAT (9:14)
PN- 86 yard rush Anthony Tyus III, Adams PAT (7:16)
PC- 63 yard rush Luke Leto, PAT miss (4:21)
Total Yards: Portage Northern 492, Portage Central 260
Turnovers: Portage Northern 3, Portage Central 2
PN Rushing: Anthony Tyus III 255, 3 TD; Tyler Amos 191, 3 TD; Tyler Coon 21, Greg Lapetina 2, Nick Henegar -1, Kareem Williams -8
PC Rushing: Luke Leto 136, 2 TD; Evan Williams 54, Frank Roseman 16, Ben Cunningham 7
PN Passing: Nick Henegar 2-3, 32 yards
PC Passing: Luke Leto 4-13, 47 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT
PN Receiving: Jaleel Williams 1-19, Cory Cunningham 1-13
PC Receiving: Grant Pikkaart 2-26, 1 TD; Ryan Dotson 1-15, Jake Drews 1-6, 1 TD
Records: Portage Northern 3-0 (2-0 SMAC West), Portage Central 1-2 (0-1 SMAC West)