The Portage Northern Huskies travelled north on 131 to face Byron Center in the opening round. Many media pundits felt that the Bulldogs “caught a break” by getting the southern district draw away from perennial powers like Forest Hills Central and Mona Shores. Portage Northern, like a team on a mission, delivered a knockout blow with a 44-22 victory.
Jason Sevigny got the Bulldogs started with a 5-yard touchdown run. Portage Northern would respond with a 37-yard touchdown strike from Cane Mack to Keegan McIntyre. After the first quarter, this game was knotted up at seven.
Early in the second quarter, Portage Northern took their first lead. McIntyre broke off a 10-yard carry to push the Huskies in front. Byron Center responded with a one-play scoring drive. After a fair catch interference penalty, they began on the fifty-yard line. On the first play, Hunter Schichtel ripped off a 50-yard sprint to the end zone. He completed the Octopus with a conversion run.
Portage Northern seized the momentum with three consecutive touchdowns. First, Xavior Tyus broke free for a 20-yard score. On the next drive, Tyus bolted past the Bulldogs for a 62-yard touchdown. Early in the third quarter, he completed his hat trick with an Octopus to put Portage Northern ahead 35-15.
Byron Center would finally answer with a 39-yard touchdown pass from Schichtel to Isaac Lee. The lead was trimmed to thirteen, but the Bulldogs didn’t draw closer.
Portage Northern iced the game with a pair of scoring plays. Mack and McIntyre linked up for a 5-yard touchdown pass, and Avery Kucharski booted a 37-yard field goal.
Xavior Tyus had a remarkable night, turning 26 carries into 316 yards and three scores.
With this victory, the Huskies will advance to the District Finals. Next week, they will travel to East Lansing to face on the Trojans, who scored a 24-0 upset victory over Battle Creek Central.