TSSAA DELAYS FOOTBALL DECISION-PORTLAND HELMET

The Portland and White House prep football teams will meet this Friday at Dewey H. Whitson in a continuation of one of the state’s oldest rivalries.

Though the two programs are no longer in the same region, they are continuing the rivalry.

The series began in the mid 1940s. The two teams played three games during that decade and then twice in the 1960s before the series was discontinued. It was renewed in 1976, with the Panthers winning eight consecuctive games (from 1976 through 1983).

In 1984, the Blue Devils won their first game ever over the Purple, 14-13, after trailing 13-7 in the fourth quarter. White House put together a 99-yard drive to take the lead, converting on a pair of fourth-down situations.

Portland won in 1985 before White House reeled off eight straight wins.

Portland and White House met at Memorial Field in 1994 in a regular-season contest. The two teams were tied 14-14 late in the fourth quarter. Facing fourth-and-long deep in their own territory, former Panther head coach Roger Perry elected to go for it on fourth down.

Portland scored on a long touchdown pass for the win, and in the opinion of some observers, that play jumpstarted the Panthers on their incredible 96-13 record that spanned from 1994 until 2001. Ironically, four of those 13 losses were to White House, two during the regular season and two in the playoffs.

In 2000, Portland defeated the Blue Devils during the regular season and faced the Devils in the quarterfinals of the Class 3A playoffs. In front of an estimated 5,000 to 6,0000 fans at Memorial Field, the Panthers used a strong second-half performance to pull away for the win.

Portland defeated Seymour in the semifinals and Covington in the state-championship game.

Portland won in 2001, 13-12.

Since the 2002 season, the Blue Devils have won 13 of the last 19 games in the series.

In 2016, the Panthers won only one game all year and that came over their neighboring rivals, 48-27.

Friday’s contest will be the 54th meeting between the rivals, with Portland holding a 27-26 lead in the series.

Last season’s contest went into overtime, with White House pulling out a 32-31 victory.

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