For the sixth consecutive season and the 12th time in the last 13 years, the Portage Central Mustangs will play in the football postseason. The Mustangs secured a spot Friday with a 28-3 win over Portage Northern in the crosstown rivals’ final meeting at McCamley Field.
The Mustangs started with the ball and punted after about a six minute drive. They got it right back, as a Husky inadvertently touched the ball on the punt, leading to a recovery by Central’s Zeb Cornwell at the Northern 28. Seven plays later, Eli Potts had a one-yard touchdown run for a 7-0 Mustang lead.
The first Husky drive got into field goal range thanks to a long reception to running back Noah Hecht. Cameron Adams made a 38-yard field goal with 10:34 remaining in the second for what would be Northern’s only points. After trading punts, Portage Central had a 74-yard scoring drive, capped off by a six-yard Potts run with 2:13 remaining for a 14-3 halftime score.
Portage Northern started with the ball in the third and on the first play, threw an interception to safety Grayson Plew off a bobble. The Mustangs needed four plays to travel 39 yards for the score, coming on a 15-yard run from sophomore back Ben Cunningham.
A botched snap led to another giveaway on the next Portage Northern drive. Central quickly punted and gave the Huskies the ball at midfield. However, four plays couldn’t net a first down for Northern. Late in the third, the Mustangs scored their final touchdown on a 34-yard pass from Carson Hodge to Kyle Dotson. The Huskies had another turnover on downs, followed by Central running out the final seven minutes.
Unofficially, Hodge was 3-4 passing for 85 yards and one touchdown, also rushing for 48 yards. Eli Potts had 90 rush yards on 20 carries. Northern QB Tyler Helgeson was 6-15 for 89 yards and one interception. Tyler Amos led the team with 71 yards, 64 of which came on one play. The rest of their rushers combined for zero total yards on 14 tries.
Portage Central locks up a playoff spot at 6-1 following the win. They travel to Kalamazoo Central in week eight, then finish at home with St. Joseph. Portage Northern drops to 2-5, ending their playoff aspirations. They host Mattawan in week eight, followed by a trip to DeWitt in week nine.
Listen back to Friday’s game below: