The Portage Central Mustangs and St Joseph Bears played in a game of runs that fittingly went to overtime. In the extra period, the Mustangs were able to score, winning this one 36-30.
In the first ten minutes of this game, it was all St Joseph. The Bears scored the opening 22 points in this contest. Brystun Mayberry got things started with a 25-yard interception return for a touchdown. Three minutes later, Andrew Barlow plowed through the defense for a 1-yard touchdown run. The St Joe defense stepped up again, as Malik Immoos scooped up a loose football, returning the fumble 34 yards to the end zone. After Immoos’ score, Devin Porter fielded the kickoff and raced 93 yards to get Portage Central on the scoreboard, trailing 22-6.
Porter scored ninety seconds into the second quarter, ripping off a 63-yard sprint through the defense. Josh Sturgeon pushed the Mustangs within two, as he powered into the end zone from a yard out. The score would remain 22-20 St Joe as the teams went to half.
The first passing touchdown of the game came late in the third, and it gave Portage Central the lead. Caleb Schnell tossed the ball to Daniel Calhoun, who ran 24 yards to the end zone. St Joseph would rally back, as Trey McGinnis capped off an 8-play scoring drive with a 3-yard touchdown run. This put the Bears ahead 30-27 with twelve minutes to go.
Neither offense could generate much of anything in the fourth quarter. The first three combined possessions ended in a punt, a fumble, and a turnover on downs. Portage Central got the football back, still trailing by three with two minutes left, on their own 34 yard line. They marched 56 yards in 10 plays, setting up for a 27-yard field goal by Aaron Pollack with sixteen seconds to go. This sent the game to overtime.
In the extra frame, the Bears got the football first. They were unable to score. Portage Central wasted no time, as Tomas Layne galloped into the end zone on a 10-yard run, delivering a huge win for the Mustangs.
PC outgained St Joe 326-208 in this game, including a 256-157 advantage on the ground. Frank Roseman led the way with 95 rushing yards, while Devin Porter added 85. St Joe was led by Trey McGinnis with 63 yards, while Preston Nichols chipped in 54.
This victory by Portage Central opens up the SMAC title race. Portage Central, St Joseph and Stevensville Lakeshore are all now 4-1 in league play. Battle Creek Lakeview is also with just one loss, though they are 3-1 in the conference. Next week, St Joseph and Stevensville Lakeshore will play in a pivotal league game. Portage Central will face their archrival, the Portage Northern Huskies.