Portland West Middle School head football coach Kyle Lane knew it would be a good night for the Panthers when Shawn Sebring scored on a 63-yard run on the first play.
The Panthers continued to dominate in their 46-8 win over visiting Rucker-Stewart last Tuesday night at Edgar Johnson Stadium.
Portland West (4-0) — which has outscored its four opponents by a combined margin of 152-26 — recorded scoring plays of 63, 48, 62 and 26 and also added touchdowns of 7 and 15 yards in rolling up 322 yards on just 20 plays, an average of 16.1 yards per play.
“It’s a good night when you score on a long run to start the game,” Lane said. “We played with more intensity and more physicality than Rucker-Stewart, and that showed up fast on the scoreboard.”
Keilen Dalton led the ground attack with 81 yards and a score, while Sebring added 76 yards. Landen Gregory followed with 44 yards on four attempts.
Quarterback Cayden Lane completed one pass, and that came on a 48-yard scoring toss to Isaac Hoke.
The defense also excelled in allowing 90 yards on 27 plays for a 3.3 average. The Panthers collected 12 tackles for losses in the contest. Of that total, 60 of those yards came late in the game on a touchdown run.
Hunter Harper led the defense with seven tackles, including a pair of stops for losses and a fumble recovery. Isaiah Patton collected five tackles and a pair of tackles for losses. Caleb Bates and Avery Hughes followed with four stops each. Hughes had four tackles for losses.
Jonathan Campbell recovered a Ram fumble in the fourth quarter.
“Rucker-Stewart runs the same offense they have for years,” Lane said. “I thought we did a good job tackling tonight. Our defense executed their assignment.”
Sebring took the handoff on the opening play from scrimmage and sped 63 yards to put the Panthers on the scoreboard. Dalton plowed in with the two-point conversion for an 8-0 lead.
The Rams came up short on a fourth-down conversion attempt on their initial series, and the Panthers struck quick.
Lane found a wide-open Hoke on a 48-yard touchdown pass play. Dalton’s two-point conversion upped the spread to 16-0 at the 5:25 mark of the first period.
Rucker-Stewart turned the football over on downs on its next drive, and Portland West wasted little time in scoring.
Dalton took the handoff from Lane, and the eighth-grader rambled 62 yards to paydirt. Hoke found an opening on the conversion run and went in untouched to extend the Panther lead to 24-0.
Harper recovered a Ram fumble, and Portland West cashed in as Hoke busted loose on a 7-yard scoring jaunt.
Dalton recorded his third two-point conversion, and Portland West led 32-0 with 1:44 still left in the first quarter.
Hoke found the end zone for the third time in the game by speeding 26 yards to paydirt.
Dalton was automatic on the conversion run for a 40-0 advantage.
Portland West notched its final score of the evening as Gregory put the wraps on his team’s offensive output with a 15-yard scoring run.
Rucker-Stewart tallied with 30 seconds left to play to prevent the shutout.
“Everyone got to play tonight,” Lane said. “We played a quality team tonight.
“I told the kids not to get too complacent. We want to be playing in the championship here on this field in October.”
Following this week’s game with Shafer, Portland West will face Ellis on Sept. 21 at Hendersonville High School before closing out the regular season the following week against cross-town rival Portland East.