Portage drops first of season
PORTAGE — Friday night’s WestPAC conference game between unbeatens Berlin Brothersvalley and Portage shaped up as an intriguing matchup.
And it was, for the first half.
But with senior quarterback Will Spochart completing 17 of his 27 passes for 240 yards and two touchdowns, and senior Isaac Etris accounting for 194 combined rushing and receiving yards while running for one touchdown and catching a pass for another, Berlin improved to 6-0 overall and in the conference by breaking open a 6-0 game in the second half and rolling to a 30-0 victory at Portage Stadium.
Play of the game: After having his 38-yard touchdown run called back because of a Berlin holding penalty moments before, Etris again showed his elusiveness by breaking off a 29-yard scoring scamper with 9:23 left in the third quarter that gave Berlin a 13-0 lead and some breathing room.
Player(s) of the game: Spochart shined with his 240 yards through the air and two TD passes, while also intercepting a pass and recovering a fumble at his cornerback position on defense. Etris was just as impressive, catching seven passes for 101 yards, including a 24-yard third-quarter scoring pass from Spochart, and rushing for 93 yards on just seven carries and a touchdown.Etris also intercepted a pass from his cornerback spot on defense.
Unsung hero(es): Berlin’s defensive unit pitched a shutout, limiting Portage to just 115 total yards.
Most vital statistic(s): Berlin compiled a 464-115 advantage in total yards, and a 22-4 edge in first downs.
Berlin Brothersvalley coach Doug Paul: “Will (Spochart) was on tonight, and our receivers were running good patterns. Etris played like a man possessed.”
Portage coach Marty Slanoc: “We battled in the first half — actually, we battled all night long. (Berlin) is a good team, they have experience, and you can’t coach experience. Playing a good opponent like Berlin was good for us, because it enabled our players to gain (that necessary) experience.”
Spochart: “We came out slow, but we stepped up our intensity in the second half, and we played Berlin football.”
Etris: “It was a team effort, and it always starts up front with the (offensive) line. It’s always a team effort, and I’m glad that we came out with the win.”
Notable: The first half of the game looked as if it might end in a scoreless tie, but Berlin got on the board only 13 seconds before intermission when the left-handed throwing Spochart found senior wideout Tuck Hillegass open in the back left corner of the end zone and connected with him on a 3-yard touchdown pass to give Berlin its 6-0 halftime lead. That capped off a 65-yard scoring drive that was highlighted when Spochart floated a perfectly-thrown 40-yard pass to senior back Preston Foor running down the field. … Kayley Sossong was crowned Portage’s homecoming queen. … Berlin tacked on 10 fourth-quarter points on Foor’s 2-yard touchdown run and a 32-yard field goal by senior placekicker Brady Glessner. … Portage turned the ball over four times, with junior linebacker Hunter Cornell also recovering a Portage fumble. … Senior defensive lineman Jake Popish recovered a fumble and junior wideout Kaden Claar caught three passes totaling 48 yards for the Mustangs. … Standout senior linebacker Corey Sossong of Portage left the game with an injury and was seen standing on the sidelines during the second half with his arm in a sling.
Records: Portage (4-1 overall and in the WestPAC conference); Berlin Brothersvalley (6-0).
Next week: Berlin Brothersvalley currently has an open date; Portage travels to Windber.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Berlin Brothersvalley 0 6 14 10 — 30
Portage 0 0 0 0 — 0
BB–Hillegass 3 pass from Spochart (kick failed), 0:13.
BB–Etris 29 run (Glessner kick), 9:23.
BB–Etris 24 pass from Spochart (Glessner kick), 3:47.
BB–Foor 2 run (Glessner kick), 11:01.
BB–Glessner 32 FG, 8:24.
TEAM STATISTICS BB P
First downs 22 4
Total yards 464 115
Rushes-yards 56-224 28-59
Yards passing 240 56
Passing (comp.-att.-int.) 17-27-0 4-15-2
Punts-avg. 1-40 6-34
Fumbles-lost 1-1 3-2
Penalties-yards 3-35 5-45
RUSHING–Berlin Brothersvalley, Etris 7-93, Spochart 20-62, Foor 22-56, Ream 3-11, Blubaugh 3-6, Prosser 1-(-4). Portage, Heidler 11-29, Miko 13-24, Claar 3-8, Berardinelli 1-(-2).
PASSING–Berlin Brothersvalley, Spochart 17-27-0-240. Portage, Miko 4-15-2-56.
RECEIVING–Berlin Brothersvalley, Etris 7-101, Blubaugh 4-53, Hillegass 3-32, Fisher 2-14, Foor 1-40. Portage, Claar 3-48, Heidler 1-8.