H.S. FOOTBALL: Portage 49, Blairsville 14
PORTAGE — Blairsville turned the ball over inside the red zone on two of its first three drives and never recovered in a loss to top-seeded Portage in the quarterfinal round of the District 6 Class A playoffs at Portage Stadium.
The Bobcats, the No. 8 seed, let the Mustangs drive 58 yards on the game’s first possession, but forced Portage to turn the ball over on downs at the 7-yard line.
Two plays later, Blairsville quarterback Scott Thompson fumbled and Portage’s Caleb Kephart returned it 12 yards for a touchdown.
On their next possession, the Mustangs went 73 yards and Scott Giles scored from 3 yards out to go up 14-0.
The Bobcats bounced back with a solid drive, but Thompson was picked off in the end zone by Luke Dividock. The turnover led to a 1-yard touchdown by Portage quarterback Michael Bryja that gave the Mustangs a 21-0 advantage.
Blairsville then drove 56 yards and Thompson scored on a 1-yard run to put the Bobcats on the board.
With less than 30 seconds to go in the half, instead of taking a knee, the Mustangs put together three straight pass plays that spanned 64 yards in just 22 seconds for a score.
Portage forced a three-and-out to start the second half and then scored on its first play from scrimmage. The 59-yard run by Kephart put the Mustangs up 35-7.
On the ensuing possession, Thompson answered with an 85-yard return for a touchdown. It only fueled the Mustangs’ fire, though, and Kephart scored from 24 yards out to give them a 42-14 lead.
Chris Onder tacked on a 9-yard touchdown with 4:03 left in the third quarter to put the mercy rule into effect.
Blairsville finished its season with a 6-5 record. Portage advanced to the semifinals to face the winner of Saturday’s Penns Manor-Bishop Guilfoyle game.
See complete coverage in Saturday’s edition.