By Mari Erin Roth
The Tiger/Trojan rivalry trophy has been passed back and forth between Quincy and Portola High Schools for 62 years! Interestingly enough, the first recorded game for the trophy ended in a tie in 1959.
Forty wins are engraved on the trophy for Quincy and 21 for the Portola Tigers, but the only one that really counts is the last one, game 62, right? And that’s what we will recap here.
Just 37 seconds into the 2020 rivalry game (played in spring 2021 due to covid) PHS senior Shane Curren ran the ball all the way down the field for the Tigers. It was the second play of the game. The ball was called back to Quincy’s 24-yard line and minutes later Portola senior Zach Mulhall took the ball in for a 7-yard rushing Tiger touchdown.
The Trojans came back tough as QHS sophomore Daniel Mercer threw a 70-yard pass to junior Eli Allred to tie things up with 9 minutes left in the first quarter. Quincy took the lead with a good kick, 7-6.
Portola senior quarterback Dylan Gonsalves threw a 15-yard pass to senior James Sampson to score for the Tigers and take back the lead, 12-7 Portola. Curren landed the extra point, Tigers 13-7.
With 3 minutes left in the quarter, senior Diogo Juarez recovered a Trojan fumble, taking possession on the PHS 38-yard line. Mulhall scored again with an 11-yard rushing TD, 19-7, with less than a minute remaining in the quarter.
The Tigers lived up to their reputation as “a machine” for the balance of the game. “I felt like we played our best football Friday night,” said PHS head football coach Steve Heskett. “We limited the turnovers and penalties to a minimum. Offensive line play was outstanding.”
In the second quarter, Curren made another long run to the QHS 38-yard line. A couple plays later Curren carried the ball 15 yards into the end zone to score. The 2-point conversion was good and the Tigers widened their lead 27-7.
Gonsalves threw a long pass to Curren with two minutes left in the half to put the Tigers on the QHS 34-yard line. Curren brought it home in an 8-yard rushing TD, 33-7, and that was the score at halftime.
Curren scored the first touchdown in the second half receiving a 20-yard pass from Gonsalves, 39-7. The Trojans had thwarted numerous extra point attempts by the Tigers, but Portola Diogo Juarez found his way through the Trojans to complete the 2-point conversion, 41-7.
Rivalry spirit showed when Curren intercepted a Quincy pass on the QHS 29-yard line. The Trojans came back by recovering a Tiger fumble on the PHS 35-yard line. Quincy missed a field goal attempt with three minutes to go on the QHS 47-yard line. Diogo Juarez scored an 8-yard rushing TD with under a minute remaining in the quarter. PHS junior Lucas Hellbig scored on the 2-point conversion to bring the Tiger lead to 49-7 and take the teams into the fourth and final quarter.
Curren made a long run for the Tigers to the QHS 10-yard line. Xander Loomis scored a Tiger TD with an 8-yard rush. Curren landed the extra point kick, 56-7, with six minutes left in the game. The Trojans continued to fight until the end but that was the end of the scoreboard action for the “2020” Portola vs. Quincy rivalry trophy game. “These young men left it all on the field every Friday night,” said PHS coach Heskett. “I am so happy for all of them to get some sort of a season.” As are we all.
The Tigers will travel to Loyalton for an afternoon game, Saturday, April 24. This will be their final game of the season.
The Portola Tiger football team played undefeated for the entire 2021 unusual spring season. They topped Redding, Los Molinos, Greenville, Loyalton and Quincy.
The Quincy Trojans will travel to Greenville to play the Indians for their last games in the “2020” season. Good news is it will be just a few short months before football returns in the fall for the 2021 season, provided health concerns remain stable. Fingers crossed on all accounts.