PORTLAND — The Portland High School football team had its postseason fate clear up on Friday evening.
Unfortunately, it didn’t clear up in the way that the Panthers had hoped.
Portland suffered a 28-14 loss to visiting Maplewood at Edgar Johnson Stadium, leaving the bottom four teams in Region 5-4A all having one league win.
“We’ve been preaching that for weeks … don’t worry about down the road,” Portland head coach Greg Cavanah said. “Take care of this week.”
However, Portland (3-5 overall, 1-3 in 5-4A) wasn’t able to do that on Friday, falling behind by a 14-0 margin and never catching up.
“They just outphysicaled us in the first half,” Cavanah said. “They came in here and wanted it more.”
Maplewood freshman quarterback Bobo Hodges – who has been filling in for sophomore Raymon Mitchell (who has been away from the team for a variety of reasons) – threw a quick pass to senior Corey Adams on the second play from scrimmage, and Adams raced 52 yards to the end zone. Then, Bobo Hodges – who played at both Hunter Middle School and Knox Doss Middle at Drakes Creek – had a 16-yard touchdown run in the second period.
The Maplewood signal-caller completed 15 of 20 passes for 133 yards and rushed for 32 yards on four carries, and his older brother – junior wide receiver Bo Hodges (a former Station Camp High player) – finished with five receptions for 38 yards.
Portland responded though as Takoda Neal recovered a muffed punt at the Maplewood 16 yard line late in the half, leading to a 2-yard touchdown run by freshman Kobe’ Dutcher. Senior quarterback Ethan Brummett added a successful conversion run to pull Portland within six points at halftime.
“We capitalized on the turnover,” Cavanah said. “That was huge. We were dead. We weren’t doing anything.”
However, Bo Hodges intercepted a Portland pass on the first possession of the second half, and Portland was plagued by penalties for the remainder of the game, getting flagged eight times for 106 yards (with seven of those flags coming in the second half).
“Too many penalties hurt us,” Cavanah said. “We played better in the second half, but we can’t overlook anybody. They’re a team full of athletes. In the second half, we played hard. In the first half, we didn’t.”
A 1-yard touchdown run by junior Damon Dartis capped a nine-play, 49-yard touchdown drive late in the third quarter, but Portland senior Dylan Parker responded by returning the ensuing kickoff 61 yards.
Brummett ran 32 yards to the end zone on the next play, quickly trimming the lead back to seven points (21-14).
“Our kids made some plays, which was great,” Cavanah said.
However, Maplewood (2-6, 1-3) recreated a two-touchdown advantage when junior tailback Jeremy McDowell broke free for a 42-yard touchdown run with 7:48 remaining.
Bo Hodges’ second interception came with three minutes left to seal the win.
Portland was limited to 136 yards of total offense.
All of the 5-4A teams have just one region game remaining, in week 11 (on Oct. 30). Pearl-Cohn and Springfield are both undefeated and have secured playoff berths. The region’s other two playoff teams will be determined by which squads win the week 11 match-ups between Portland/Macon County and Maplewood/White House.
“What I just said to (the players) was, ‘are we folding our tent, or will we come back and play for the purple and white,’” Cavanah said.
Portland remains at home for its final three games, hosting Friendship Christian on Friday before the regular-season finale against Macon County one week later.
Reach Craig Harris at 615-575-7138 or on Twitter @HarrisGNESports.
M â€“ Corey Adams 52 pass from Bobo Hodges. Marlon Zelaya kick. M â€“ Bobo Hodges 16 run. Zelaya kick. ; P â€“ Kobe’ Dutcher 2 run. Ethan Brummett run. M â€“ Damon Dartis 1 run. Zelaya kick.; P â€“ Brummett 32 run. Pass failed. M â€“ Jeremy McDowell 42 run. Zelaya kick.
M — Jeremy McDowell 12-78, Bobo Hodges 4-32, Terrill Lenox 6-27, Deshawn Johnson 3-19, Damon Dartis 3-9, Cornelius Pirtle 1-3, Corey Adams 1-(-1), .
P — Ethan Brummett 19-66, Kobe’ Dutcher 10-34, Sevonte Sumpter-Bey 1-7, Kemper Dixon 5-6, Dylan Parker 4-(-2), Brandon Meador 1-(-4).
M — Bobo Hodges 15-20-0-133.
P — Ethan Brummett 3-12-2-29.
M — Corey Adams 2-50, Bo Hodges 5-38, Jeremy McDowell 3-32, Yusef Ali 5-13.
P — Michael Hussey 2-16, B.J. Ladd 1-13.