Panthers don#039;t get their way
CHESAPEAKE - If you're playing a high school football game, Chesapeake Panthers head coach Phil Davis can instruct you on the "Do's" and "Don'ts" of what it takes to win or lose.
The Panthers racked up 366 yards offense, but two costly turnovers and several critical penalties led to their downfall as the Portsmouth Trojans rallied late to beat Chesapeake 27-20 in Friday's season opener.
"We did enough good things to stay in the game, and we did enough bad things to lose it," Panthers coach Phil Davis said.
Probably the worst thing the Panthers did was allow the Trojans to convert a third down and goal pass to the 1-yard line.
With the ball at the 24, quarterback Shane Porter threw a high fly to the left side near the goal line. A Chesapeake defender knocked the ball away, but as he and Portsmouth receiver Troy Parker came to the ground, the ball bounced off Parker's chest and he grabbed it on the rebound for a 23-yard completion.
Porter pushed his way into the end zone on the next play for the touchdown that gave Portsmouth a 25-20 lead. Cliff Alexander ran for the conversion to make it a 7-point game with just 2:33 to play.
"The story of the game was we made too many mistakes," Davis said. "I'll give them credit. They played hard and they made some clutch plays."
Still, Chesapeake wasn't finished just yet. Quarterback Caleb McComas ran 17 yards on a counter and threw 9 yards to Jeffrey Thornburg to the Trojans 31-yard line.
But Portsmouth recovered a fumble on the next play with 1:21 to go and sealed the Panthers fate.
"We can't do that stuff and win," Davis said. "We moved the ball all night but we kept shooting ourselves in the foot. We kept stopping ourselves."
Chesapeake went on top 6-0 on a 19-yard pass from McComas to Thornburg to cap a 70-yard, 7-play drive with 4:19 left in the first quarter.
The Trojans came back to take the lead on the next possession on a 1-yard run by Porter. The score was set up by a 29-yard pass from Porter to Parker. J.D. Jones kicked the extra point.
The Panthers fumbled the ensuing kickoff and Portsmouth recovered at the 43. Two plays later Porter kept the ball and raced into the end zone for the score and a 13-6 lead.
The cushion didn't last long as Chesapeake began a scoring drive behind the running of McComas and Harris. The passing combination of McComas to Thornburg worked again as they teamed up on a 25-yard scoring play with 8:30 left in the half and it was 13-12.
It was Portsmouth's turn again on the next series and the Trojans drove 61 yards in eight plays. Porter found Parker running loose among the defense for an 11-yard scoring play and it was 19-12 at the half.
Following a scoreless third quarter, Chesapeake got a quick score to take the lead.
Getting the ball with 9:26 to go, Chesapeake used a big 44-yard run by McComas to the Portsmouth 39 and a 19-yard burst by Harris to get into scoring position at the Trojans 25-yard line.
Cody Methax ran 10 yards to the 15 and Harris scored on the next play. McComas ran for the conversion and Chesapeake had a 20-19 lead with 6:21 to play.
The Panthers were dealt a couple of blows during the game with two starting linemen going down with injuries.
"We know we're not deep. We lost a guard and a tackle and that hurt us as much on defense as on offense," Davis said.
Ch - Jeffrey Thornburg 19 pass from Caleb McComas (kick failed) 4:19
Prt - Shane Porter 1 run (J.D. Jones kick) 1:17
Prt - Shane Porter 43 run (kick blocked)
Ch - Jeffrey Thornburg 25 pass from Caleb McComas (kick failed) 8:30
Prt - Troy Parker 11 pass from Shane Porter (run failed) 5:57
Ch - Kersten Harris 15 run (Caleb McComas run) 6:21
Prt - Shane Porter 1 run (Cliff Alexander run) 2:33
RUSHING – Portsmouth: Shane Porter 18-97, Cliff Alexander 10-42, John Walker 3-25, Che Pickles 1-12, John Harcha 1-minus 5; Chesapeake: Caleb McComas 12-159, Kersten Harris 16-103, Mike Stapleton 5-19, Cody Methax 5-12, Cory Methax 1-7.
PASSING – Portsmouth: Shane Porter 9-22-1
165; Chesapeake: Caleb McComas 5-13-0
RECEIVING – Portsmouth: A.J. Johnson 6-124, Troy Parker 2-40, John Walker 1-1; Chesapeake: Jeffrey Thornburg 3-53, Brad Eldred 1-16, Cory Methax 1-minus 6.