The Portage Central Mustangs won a game of swings Friday for Homecoming, defeating the Traverse City Central Trojans 49-34. The momentum started fully with the Mustangs, as the Trojans fumbled on the opening kickoff. Four plays later, Eli Potts had a 3-yard touchdown run. The lead was 20-0 Mustangs by the end of the first quarter, forcing two quick punts and adding two short rushing scores from Potts and quarterback Carson Hodge.
With a lost fumble on TCC’s third drive, things looked like it could get out of hand. However, the momentum shifted completely to Traverse City Central in the second quarter. After stopping Portage Central for a turnover on downs, the Trojans got their first score with 4:43 left on a 13-yard pass from Tobin Schwannecke to Bowen Brunner.
The Mustangs fell victim to the kick return fumble and 40 seconds later, Schwannecke again hit Brunner on a 10-yard passing score. TCC forced a quick punt and scored once more before halftime, on a 5-yard Schwannecke rush with 35 seconds left, to take a 21-20 advantage into the half.
Portage Central reclaimed momentum to start the third quarter, pounding their way to the end zone on a 14-run, 78-yard drive capped off by Potts’ third rushing TD on a 4-yard scamper. (Two-point conversion pass was complete to Kyle Dotson). After trading punts, the Mustangs scored early in the fourth with a 10-yard Hodge run, taking a 35-21 lead.
Traverse City Central responded through the air, finding Brunner for his third touchdown reception, this one from 15 yards out, to put the Trojans back within seven midway through the fourth. Both teams went three-and-out on their ensuing drives and Portage Central used a short field to score on a 7-yard Kris Hodgson rush with 2:06 remaining.
The Trojans weren’t quite dead yet, going 78 yards in 38 seconds, giving Brunner his fourth reception TD of the game. The 12-yard pass and a blocked extra point put the score at 42-34 with 1:22 remaining. The Trojans also had two timeouts remaining, but Hodgson made them irrelevant. On the first play of the PC drive, Hodgson went 53 yards to the house to secure the 49-34 victory.
Portage Central unofficially rushed for 317 yards. Potts had 137 on 24 carries with three touchdowns. Hodgson ended with 104 on 20 attempts with two scores and Hodge added 76 yards on 13 tries. He also was 2-3 passing for 44 yards.
For Traverse City Central, Schwannecke was 16-31 passing for 222 yards and four touchdowns. He also led the team with 87 rushing yards on 19 tries. Brunner had six catches for 117 yards and four touchdowns.
The Mustangs improve to 3-1 with the homecoming victory. Ahead for them is a trip to Battle Creek against Lakeview (1-3). The Trojans fall to 2-2 and meet Big North Conference foe Gaylord (2-2) at home for week five. Listen back to Friday’s week four contest below:
Listen live online Friday evening on the Slocum Sports Network as the Portage Central Mustangs host the Traverse City Central Trojans for week four of the high school football season. Both teams enter at 2-1, looking to bounce back after suffering their first loss in week three.
Friday’s loser will end a streak of multiple regular seasons with one or zero losses, dating back to 2012 for the Mustangs and 2014 for the Trojans. It will be the second-ever meeting between the two squads. Last year, Portage Central made the roughly three hour trip north and fell 38-22. This year’s meeting also serves as homecoming for Portage Central, who crushed Niles 40-0 for homecoming last year.
The Mustangs started 2017 with wins over Mattawan (27-14) and Battle Creek Central (26-14). Last week’s trip to Stevensville ended in a 24-7 defeat to Lakeshore. Traverse City Central rolled Bay City Western (38-0) and Marquette (42-14) to begin the year, but lost a tight one in week three over crosstown and Big North Conference rival Traverse City West, 29-27.