Chester’s quarterback Hunter Morris hurdles over Portola’s line as Portola’s Miguel Garcia runs to catch up. Morris scored two of Chester’s three touchdowns Nov. 2. Photos by James Wilson
In an amazing evenly matched game, Chester took down the Portola Tigers 21-16. Chester fought its way through the Tigers’ tough defense on Portola’s field Nov. 2.
Both teams had everything to gain and lose last Friday. By winning, Chester gained the number one seed in the division and Portola dropped down to number two.
When asked for comment, Chester’s coach Terry Hernandez astutely replied, “Well it’s pretty simple, really. That was one great game played by two great teams.”
The Volcanoes have home field advantage throughout the playoffs. The Tigers will play at home for the majority of the playoffs, unless they face Chester again.
Both teams’ offenses struggled the entire game. It was obvious that neither team had faced such skilled defenses.
Neither team wavered, and the final result came down to which team was up when the clock ran out.
The first quarter was entirely a defensive game. Possession of the ball traded hands seven times. Portola received the initial kickoff, and only lasted four sets of downs.
Chester followed suit and punted after four plays. Both teams weren’t able to make any significant drive the entirety of the quarter. The only mistake made by either team in the quarter was when Chester fumbled and Portola recovered. Portola’s possession amounted to nothing, however. The quarter ended with no score.
“We came away from this game knowing we have some things to work on,” said Hernandez. “We had some missed opportunities that we can’t afford to miss in the playoffs.”
Chester took the upper hand toward the beginning of the second quarter. Portola slipped up and fumbled. Chester’s Thomas Kelly snatched up the ball and ran to Portola’s nine yard line. Chester took advantage of the situation. Rocklin Loranger rushed the ball into the end zone for the first points of the game. Micah Bondon kicked the point after to put Chester up by seven.
Portola retaliated with a steady drive into Chester’s end zone. The kickoff was recovered mid-field to put Portola in an ideal starting position. Slowly but steadily, Portola moved the ball forward.
Ricky Lowdermilk passed to Oscar Romero who carried the ball to the 11 yard line. Finally Zack Martinez rushed for the touchdown with three minutes remaining in the half. The extra point was good.
Chester attempted a last minute drive and managed to take the ball all the way to Portola’s 15 yard line. The Volcanoes ran out of downs. Portola took possession with 30 seconds remaining and ran the clock out to leave the score 7-7 at the half.
Chester controlled the ball for the majority of the third quarter. The Volcanoes received the kickoff and drove the ball close to the Tigers’ end zone. Chester fumbled, however, and the Tigers recovered the ball at their six yard line. After two sets of downs, Portola punted and the Volcanoes retained possession.
Chester quarterback, Hunter Morris, made several key plays during the quarter. On a fourth down, Morris rushed for the first down. Kelley subsequently ran to place the Volcanoes close to the end zone. Morris sneaked through Portola’s line for Chester’s second touchdown.
Martinez returned the kickoff for the Tigers, placing the ball at the 47 yard line. Portola drove the ball up the field as the third quarter ended.
Klint Williams rushed into Chester’s end zone to tie the game 13-13.
After a set of downs, Chester punted to Portola which began another successful drive. With four minutes left in the game, Tyler Valdez kicked a field goal to put Portola ahead by three.
Chester utilized its rushing talent through the game, but with so much green to cover and not much time left, the Tigers switched to a passing game.
Kelly caught and carried two passes during Chester’s final drive. With less than a minute left, Morris passed to a receiver in the end zone. Portola’s defense slapped the ball, which deflected into the hands of Chester’s Trevor Roberts at the one yard line.
Morris once again snuck the ball past Portola’s line to score Chester’s final touchdown of the game. David Estacio rushed for the two point conversion.
Portola attempted a last minute drive, but fumbled the ball which Chester recovered. Both teams ended their regular seasons with impressive 9-1 records.
“This was a tough way to lose a game,” said Portola’s coach Steve Heskett. “Hopefully this will make us more focused on the playoffs.”
Chester and Portola both have byes this week. Both teams play on Nov. 16. The opponents are to be determined based on the final scores of the games Friday, Nov. 9th.