Portage Northern defeated Portage Central 28-16 Friday in the seventh postseason football meeting between the crosstown rivals. With the first round win, the Huskies will host Forest Hills Central in next week’s district championship.
As usual, the postseason rematch had a notably different final result. However, for only the third time in seven games, the regular season winner also took the playoff game. The Mustangs gave the Huskies a closer result than the 56-26 week three affair, but Portage Northern’s defense stayed firm with only seven points allowed.
PN opened scoring as all-state running back Tyler Amos exploded for a 94-yard touchdown run. Defenses dominated the next few drives, including a key goal-line stop from Portage Central, plus a forced fumble.
PC would find the endzone with 3:48 remaining in the second quarter on a 32-yard toss from Luke Leto to Trammel Lindstrom. A botched snap-and-hold kept the Mustangs behind 7-6. Before halftime, the Huskies scored again via a two-yard touchdown rush by Amos for a 14-6 halftime lead.
Portage Northern opened the third quarter with the ball and a chance to go up by two scores, but found themselves tied with the Mustangs only 52 seconds in. Amos would fumble and the ball bounced perfectly into the hands of Grant Pikkaart, who took the recovery 47 yards to the endzone. Leto converted the two-point conversion with his legs to tie the game at 14-14.
The tie game was short-lived as Anthony Tyus III had an 18-yard touchdown run only 64 seconds later for a 21-14 Husky lead. Tyus then fell on a Mustang fumble, but PN would punt on the ensuing drive. On the punt, the snap flew over the head of punter Cam Adams, who fell on the ball in the endzone for a safety and 21-16 score.
The safety would be the last points PC would get, held to two punts and a turnover-on-downs on their remaining drives. The Huskies would chew up the clock and score once more with a 15-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter from Nick Henegar to Zach Farley.
Portage Central closes the season at 5-5 and graduates seniors Bryce Hoff, Ben Cunningham, Jarod Finstrom, Sam Philion, Evan Williams, Jake Drews, Austin Thomas, Trammel Lindstrom, Evan McKillop, Aaron Schrock, Rocco Seals, Jackson Kinney, Justin Heyward, Devon Rocha, Liame Demmin, Nic Theobold, Trey Aldred, Mike Walsh, and Ben Kempisty.
Portage Northern improves to 9-1 and has a shot at back-to-back district titles next week as they host Forest Hills Central. The Rangers improved to 8-2 in their first round 34-14 win over Mattawan.
Video by Jeff Ryder
Photos by Chris Carpenter
PN: 94 yard rush Tyler Amos, Cam Adams PAT (9:32)
PC: 32 yard pass Trammel Lindstrom from Luke Leto, PAT Fail (3:48)
PN: 2 yard rush Tyler Amos, Adams PAT (1:17)
PC: 47 yard fumble recovery Grant Pikkaart, Leto 2PT rush (11:08)
PN: 18 yard rush Anthony Tyus III, Adams PAT (10:04)
PC: Safety (7:52)
PN: 15 yard pass Zach Farley from Nick Henegar, Adams PAT (8:12)