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Explosive plays power Portage

Photos for the Mirror by Tami Knopsnyder Portage’s Kaden Claar carries the ball past North Star defender Connor Yoder in the Mustangs’ win Friday.

BOSWELL — Portage used a batch of big plays — including a 95-yard touchdown pass– to bolt out to a big lead, and the Mustangs’ first-team defense turned in another dominating display on Friday night in a 63-12 victory over North Star in the WestPAC.

Play of the game: Andrew Miko’s 95-yard touchdown pass to Josh Morgan late in the second quarter put Portage ahead 35-0.

Player of the game: Miko completed 5-of-9 passes for 212 yards and two touchdowns.

Unsung hero: Portage linebacker Corey Sossong, who intercepted a pass and helped hold the Cougars to negative-47 rushing yards in the first half.

Most vital statistic: Eight — the number of plays of 25 yards or more for the Portage offense.

Portage coach Marty Slanoc: “We were looking for more explosive plays. We feel like we have a lot of skill kids, and that was kind of our goal coming in, like, ‘Hey, we need to make splash plays offensively.’ That’s what we think our strength is.”

North Star coach Bob Landis: “We’re struggling a little bit, but our guys are working. I didn’t see any quit in our guys. The effort’s there. We’re getting better. We’re looking for small gains. Portage is a good football program.”

Portage linebacker Corey Sossong: “Stopping the run — Coach Slanoc always says if you can’t run, you can’t win. Our ‘backers, we play for the run, mostly. We do whatever we can to stop the run.”

Quick start: Oren Heidler went 45 yards for a touchdown on the Mustangs’ first offensive play of the night. The junior running back added a 5-yard touchdown run in the second quarter.

Fast finish to first half: Portage scored three touchdowns in less than 3¢ minutes of game time in the second quarter. Scott Berardinelli started the scoring barrage with a 5-yard TD run. Miko then found Morgan for the 95-yard scoring pass. Kaden Claar followed by intercepting a Connor Yoder pass and returning it 21 yards for a touchdown to make it 41-0.

Records: Portage (2-0); North Star (0-2)

Next week: Portage welcomes Conemaugh Valley. North Star hosts Meyersdale.

SCORE BY QUARTERS

Portage 14 27 7 15–63

North Star 0 0 12 0 –12

First Quarter

P–Heidler 45 run (Tubbs kick), 9:44

P–Claar 25 pass from Miko (Tubbs kick), 2:23

Second Quarter

P–Heidler 5 run (Tubbs kick), 10:04

P–Berardinelli 5 run (Tubbs kick), 5:04

P–Morgan 95 pass from Miko (Tubbs kick), 2:08

P–Claar 21 interception return (Kick failed), 1:36

Third Quarter

P–Berardinelli 2 run (Tubbs kick),7:19

NS–Maluchnik 54 run (Kick failed), 6:12

NS–Berkey 27 pass from Pristas (Run failed), :30

Fourth Quarter

P–Trusik 5 run (Kennedy conversion run), 8:13

P–Miller 55 run (Tubbs kick), 4:42

TEAM STATISTICS P NS

First downs 10 9

Total yards 519 179

Rushes-yards 34-307 28-90

Yards passing 212 89

Passing (comp.-att.-int.) 5-10-0 6-18-2

Punts-avg. 1-37 6-38.8

Fumbles-lost 2-0 2-0

Penalties-yards 6-50 1-15

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING–Portage, Heidler 7-72, Claar 3-56, Miller 1-55, Kennedy, 2-39, Trusik 6-34, Berardinelli 8-24, Gouse 1-11, Miko 3-7, Zatek 1-7, Wolford 2-2. North Star, Maluchnik 6-41, Scott 3-27, Pristas 3-18, Weible 5-14, Snoeberger 3-14, Yoder 8-(-24).

PASSING–Portage, Miko 5-9-0-212, Gouse 0-1-0-0. North Star, Yoder 4-14-2-50, Pristas 2-4-0-39

RECEIVING–Portage, Morgan 2-128, Claar 2-44, Rainey 1-40. North Star, Weible 2-49, Berkey 1-27, Pristas 1-15, Maluchnik 1-(-2).

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