By Ryan Jent for The News Examiner
Portland earned its first victory of the season, defeating visiting White House 48-27 at Edgar Johnson Stadium on Friday evening.
Three things to take away for each team:
Portland senior Michael Hussey, replaced senior quarterback Brandon Meador late in the third quarter after Meador suffered an ankle injury. The Panthers did not resort to throwing, however. For the first time this season, Portland (1-2) displayed its Wildcat offensive formation with Hussey carrying the ball.
White House (0-3) did not adjust well as Hussey ran the ball nine times for 132 yards and three touchdowns, coming mostly in the fourth quarter.
“We had that in our back pocket to do that, and we’ve not shown it all year,” Portland head coach Greg Cavanah said. “When Brandon (Meador) went out, it was a good time to run it.”
Picking and grinning
The Portland secondary proved opportunistic in the fourth quarter, intercepting White House sophomore quarterback Andrew Nixon three times during the final 12 minutes. Hussey intercepted Nixon at the Portland 2-yard line to prevent a touchdown, while the Panthers were holding a 28-20 lead with 8:12 left.
Tobias McNutt grabbed a pair of interceptions to help Portland secure the win.
More than one way to get there
Portland senior Emmanuel Johnson found the end zone four times on Friday, but found multiple ways to do so.
Johnson scored the game’s first touchdown off an 88-yard punt return, when he eluded several White House defenders.
Johnson also scored on a 20-yard run and caught a deflected Brandon Meador pass that glanced off Jackson Webb before settling into Johnson’s hands for a 45-yard touchdown.
The senior running back later scored on a 51-yard run late in the fourth quarter to help secure the win.
Not So Special Teams
Breakdowns in White House’s special teams coverage proved to be troublesome for the Blue Devils.
Along with Johnson’s 88-yard punt return for a touchdown, White House gave up three combined punt and kickoff returns that allowed Portland to begin drives in Blue Devil territory.
Pass It Along
Despite Nixon’s three fourth-quarter interceptions (four total), the sophomore signal-caller did hit several passes. After completing 8-of-9 passes in the first half, Nixon was 16-of-27 passing for 267 yards and a pair of scores.
His favorite target was freshman Logan Neufield, who reeled in five receptions for 88 yards and a score. Senior tight end Danny Stout had 67 yards and a touchdown for the Blue Devils.
With the loss to Portland, coupled with last year’s 28-17 setback, White House has now lost consecutive games to the Panthers for the first time since the 1999-2001 seasons.
Portland won four straight during that time with two of those wins coming in 2000 where the Panthers won the regular season and post season matchup between the two squads.
White House is also 0-3 for the first time since 2005, but the Blue Devils did reach the state quarterfinals that season.