PORTER – The Porter Pirates’ 2019 campaign did not get off to the start they had hoped. But head coach Prentice Joseph’s young squad showed promise at times in what he said could be a lesson learned.
Mounds took advantage of five Porter turnovers and proved to be too much in the fourth quarter as the Golden Eagles defeated Porter, 28-14.
“It’s a loss,” Joseph told his team afterwards. “But it can be a lesson. Learn from the lesson. We did some great things and not so great things.”
The not so great things that Joseph mentioned came in the way of turnovers. Mounds converted turnovers into three first half field goals. Then a interception return for a score early in the fourth quarter ended a Pirate rally.
“The score was 28-14,” Joseph said afterward. “But what I’ll look at is five turnovers to one takeaway. You can’t win games doing that. We were so close. The opportunity was there. We have to learn how to not turn the ball over.”
Despite three first-half turnovers, the Pirates were never out of it as the defense did just enough to keep Mounds out of the end zone. The Golden Eagles were forced to settle for field goals of 47, 28, and 33 yards by Kase Frohmann.
Porter’s offense finally got on track late in the second quarter. George Collins’ 41-yard kickoff return set the Pirates up near midfield. Bo Tramel connected with Christian Replogle for a 40-yard pass. Four plays later, Collins ran it in from six yards out to make it 9-6.
The momentum carried over to the defense which forced a three and out and a punt. But a fumble gave Mounds the ball back in Pirate territory. Dayton Patrick, who finished with 176 yards passing, connected with Jayden Wall for 33 yards and then 13 for a touchdown that made it 15-6 going in to halftime.
Halftime adjustments on defense limited the Mounds passing game. Porter also got its first turnover of the game when Logan Jones recovered a fumbled punt.
Jones, who starts at wide receiver, was forced to take over at quarterback midway through the drive when Tramel went out with an injury, although he would later return. Jones’ first pass attempt was a 24-yard completion to Claude Sheppard on fourth and 14. Jones then capped the drive with a 24-yard touchdown pass to Cortez Broadnax to cut the lead to 15-14.
“Logan got us back in the game,” Joseph said. “He doesn’t get a lot of reps at quarterback in practice. But he stepped right in. I think that shows the makeup of our team.
“We’re young. I think we rotated eight guys in the secondary. They were locked on for most of the game. We made some adjustments with our linebackers that helped stopped some of their big pass plays they were getting.”
The Pirate momentum appeared to be stopped when Taylor Wortman returned the ensuing kickoff 71 yards to the Porter 4. But the Pirate defense forced three straight losses on run plays and Collins knocked the ball from a defender at the goal line.
Despite being backed up inside their own 10, the Pirates moved the ball out to the 38. But two plays later, turnovers reared its ugly head again when Trendon McDonald picked off a Tramel pass and returned it 37 yards to give Mounds a 22-14 lead with 10:49 remaining.
The Pirate offense never got going after that and Mounds added a late score to seal the win. Tramel ended the game with 131 yards passing and 36 yards rushing to lead Porter.