The Portage Northern Huskies, under the direction of Kurt Twichell for the first time, were able to end the 2021 campaign on a positive note Friday. Taking on Kalamazoo Central, the Huskies defeated the Maroon Giants 28-14.
In the first quarter, there was just one scoring play. Xavier Thomas found Jaydn Walker on a 32-yard touchdown pass. Avery Kucharski booted the extra point to give Portage Northern a 7-0 lead.
After Kucharski missed a field goal attempt, Kalamazoo Central responded with two scores late in the period. First, Andre Tarver carried the football for a 13-yard touchdown. This capped off a 12-play, 80-yard touchdown march. In the final minute of the half, Tarver found the end zone again. This time, his 18-yard score was paired with a two-point run by Romell Frank, giving the Maroon Giants a 14-7 lead at halftime.
Portage Northern evened the count at the midway point of the third quarter. XaVior Tyus was able to spring free, reeling off a 13-yard touchdown that tied the game at 14. This draw would hold into the final quarter.
Ninety seconds into the fourth quarter, Cane Mack found Xavier Thomas on a 10-yard touchdown snag. On their next drive, XaVior Tyus added a 15-yard rushing score. Two successful Kucharski extra points gave Portage Northern a 14-point victory.
Cane Mack finished 9/20 passing for 118 yards. Jayden Myers led the PN rushing attack with 53 yards, while Xavier Thomas had 72 receiving yards.
Kalamazoo Central saw Kei’Shawn Langston complete 6/11 passes for 99 yards. Andre Tarver had 95 rushing yards on 22 carries, while Rick Smith-Shepard had four catches for 120 yards.
Neither team finished this season with a winning record. Portage Northern posted a 3-6 record in 2021. Kalamazoo Central secured two wins in nine tries.