The Portland West Middle School football team traveled to Gallatin to face Rucker-Stewart on Sept. 8, and though the Panthers came home with a 38-14 loss, head coach Kyle Lane saw some improvement as the season reached the midway point.

“We have improved each week,” Lane said. ”We tackled Rucker for a safety in the second half and also recovered an onsides kick to create some momentum.”

Tackling was a big culprit in the game with the Rams last week, according to Lane.

“We did not tackle well, and we are focusing on tackling this week,” Lane said.

The Rams complied 312 total yards in the game, with 192 coming in the opening half, along with four touchdowns.

Offensively, the Panthers (0-3) had seven drives, and on five of those, the team either had a bad snap or penalty to start the series.

“We can’t play against ourselves and the other team each week.” Lane said. “We have to keep ourselves out of these holes. We continue to make little mistakes.

“We were able to get into a rhythm in the second half, and were able to get some points on the board.”

The Panthers accumulated 277 total yards on 42 plays from scrimmage as Isaac Hoke rushed for 101 on 17 attempts and scored two touchdowns while also catching four passes for 94 yards.

Quarterback Keilen Dalton completed 4 of 7 passes, and Jay Burnley added 53 rushing yards.

Portland West will face Shafer in Gallatin on Sept. 22 and will then face city rival Portland East the following week.

“In practice, we are focusing on details, effort, execution, and tackling,” Lane said. “I know we will play our best football in the second half of the season.”

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