Bluejays fly past Portageville 38-13 in football
Josh Mills ~ Standard Democrat
PORTAGEVILLE -- On a night where two hungry clubs met up, Charleston took the bigger bite, defeating the Portageville Bulldogs on their home turf by a score of 38-13.
It was obvious from the start that Charleston was out for blood, as they jumped all over Portageville's offense from the opening kickoff. Charleston forced three fumbles in the first three minutes of the first quarter.
"The fumbles sure didn't help us out early," Portageville head coach Lee Wallace said. "We were really ready for this game tonight. Who knows what the outcome would have been if we hadn't fumbled the ball so early in the game."
Charleston countered on the poor offensive ball control as they got the scoring extravaganza underway with 6:45 left to go in the first quarter, when quarterback Chase McClendon rumbled in for a 4-yard touchdown run, followed by a successful two-point conversion run from Jerquawn Sherrell.
Just minutes later, after the Bulldogs went three-and-out, Sherrell took in a 24-yard run, followed by another successful two-point conversion run, with 2:02 left to play in the first quarter.
Portageville's offense remained silent for the entire first half, as Charleston's defense, led by James Davenport, Ben Nally, Justin Young and Henry Davis, proved to be too quick to get to the blue jerseys of the Bulldogs. Portageville was held to eight yards from scrimmage in the first half of the game.
Charleston's Sherrell led the scoring game off in the third quarter, running in from 17 yards out, with 8:51 left on the clock.
On the ensuing kickoff, Portageville's Mikey Johnson ran the kick back 85 yards for the score at 8:40, to give the fans a glimpse of hope.
The Bluejays quickly turned the tides, as Brian Caldwell ran the kick back 70 yards for Charleston, followed by a Marquez Ware two-point conversion run, with 8:21 left to go in the quarter.
Charleston cleared out the bench and gave the starters a well-deserved rest, and would go silent in the fourth quarter after a few rushing outbursts by Claude Armstrong and Corey Newton that failed to bring points.
Portageville's Landon Roberts managed to burst through the hole from 2 yards out for a touchdown run, followed by a Johnson kick for an extra point. But the remaining 9:35 would go scoreless, and Charleston would hold on for the road victory.
"Any win is a great win," Charleston head coach Dan Kesselring said. "We scored some points and our running game was pretty good. I was really please with how our quarterback handled the option tonight.
"We totaled up a few penalties in the early going. But, we overcame them, and played our game and got the victory."
Despite the loss, Wallace saw improvement in his squad that he said may not be visible from the naked eye.
"We're battling two opponents right now," he said. "We're battling our opponents on the field, as well as ourselves. We're really improving as a ball club, and that's one of the most important things to me right now. We've got to keep building on what we've got started."
Charleston's next road game is at NMCC on Friday, and Kesselring said they've got some preparing to do.
"They like to run the ball," he said. "They've got speed we haven't seen yet this year. They're going to be tough."
Portageville will travel to Malden next Friday evening.
"We get Malden next," Wallace said. "We'll go toe-to-toe with them. We're pretty evenly matched, and I know my guys will come out ready to win."
Both games are scheduled for 7 p.m.