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Friday, Aug. 26, 2016

Portageville surges past Kennett in second half

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Portageville ball carrier Dominique Walker gets wrapped up by Kennett's Harold Weeden Friday at Portageville High School. Chris Pobst, Staff
PORTAGEVILLE -- After a few down years they'd prefer to forget about, the Portageville Bulldogs don't mind being an 'under the radar' team.

As a matter of fact, they relish it.

"We've been down for a few years so it's kind of easy for teams to overlook us -- which, it's not something I really don't want to complain about. I hope they continue to," first-year head coach Jeff Bullock said.

Although that's their preference, if they continue the path they're on, the Bulldogs won't be underdogs for very long.

Behind their powerful, multiple-back running game headlined by senior Daniel Allen, Portageville dumped the Kennett Indians, 27-7, Friday at Portageville High School, which included an hour and four minute delay due to lightning.

It's Portageville's first win over Kennett since 2004.

"We ran the ball well," Allen said. "We've got a lot of good running backs here. We're hard to stop. I don't know of four better running backs in southeast Missouri better than us."

Allen and the rest of Bullock's backfield did a number on Kennett.

The senior, who moved to Portageville during his sophomore year from California, ran for 154 yards on 24 touches including a 53-yard, go-ahead touchdown run that gave Portageville a lead they wouldn't relinquish.

It's Allen's second straight game going over the 150 rushing yard mark.

"I decided I was going to lower my shoulder and run angry," Allen said of his touchdown run. "I broke a few tackles, looked up and saw a hole."

Allen is complimented by fellow seniors Dominique Walker and Dion Foster, who picked up 49 and 62 yards, respectively, between them.

Walker, a 6-3, 190-pound burner, accounted for three of Portageville's scoring runs, including a 95-yard kickoff return to start the game.

"If you give them a crease, they're so athletic they can turn nothing into something," Bullock said.

Walker also scored on a 16-yard run and a 20-yard scamper to put the Bulldogs up by three scores in the fourth quarter.

"I wouldn't trade them for any group of four," said Bullock. "There may be individuals out there that may be better, but we've got four interchangeable parts back there that work hard and run hard."

The Bulldogs run a Double-Tight, Wing-T offense that plays perfectly into their personnel's hands. Nearly all of their running backs possess speed, but they're also not afraid to run right at a defense almost begging for contact so they can fight for extra yardage.

"We run like we're angry," Allen said. "We like to lower our shoulders and run over people. Even before the game, Kennett's coach said 'if y'all run over us, y'all are going to win.' That's what we did."

In all, Bullock is comfortable calling on six different players to run the football. Starting with Allen, Foster and Walker. Next comes Denzell Simmons and then junior quarterback, Bryce Wallace.

Even among four seniors and a junior, sophomore Landon Delisle was called upon late in the game.

"When you start focusing on (Allen) then you have to deal with (Walker) and (Foster) and (Simmons)," Bullock said. "There's a lot of guys you have to worry about back there."

Delisle proved that fact in the fourth quarter while the Bulldogs were trying to run the clock out. The sophomore fullback picked up 24 yards on five carries running up the middle, in most cases, after a night that was full of Allen and Walker.

"When I needed six or seven yards to get a first down towards the end, we gave it to Landon because people get caught up and forget about him," said Bullock.

After Walker exploded for his long run-back to get the game started, Kennett answered with a touchdown drive orchestrated by quarterback Declan Wallace.

Wallace, who finished 6 of 15 passing for 70 yards as well as 40 yards rushing, found receiver Cameron Harper nearly three yards from the goal line.

Harper fought with Portageville defenders until reaching across the plane with his left arm stretched to came away with the score.

Both teams remained scoreless in the second quarter, which saw the hour-long weather delay.

The clock was stopped with 8:39 left in the first half when the umpire called for the delay when lightning began to strike the area. After play resumed, neither team seemed to find a rhythm.

Portageville had a chance to take the halftime lead, but three incomplete passes into the end zone sent both teams into the locker room with the same 7-6 score.

"We are not going to use that as an excuse," Kennett head coach Corey Adkisson said about not scoring after the delay. "They had the same delay we had. I felt like we played pretty good the last couple of series after the delay, but just kind of came out flat in the end. We were still okay at halftime. We just didn't execute the second half."

The Indians (0-2) didn't help their cause with four fumbles -- two lost -- and 10 penalties for 75 yards.

"I felt like we came out and played pretty hard," Adkisson said. "We had some turnovers. When you turn the ball over offensively to a ball-control offense like they have you make it tough on yourself. That's exactly what happened."

Kennett was led by Darius Warren on the ground, who had 13 touches for 67 yards.

After stopping Kennett on their first drive in the second half, Allen broke for his 53-yard touchdown run to essentially seal the game. Walker added his two scoring runs as well to give Portageville their first 2-0 start since the 2003 season.

"We were fortunate enough to start out 1-0 last week and some people may have downplayed it because it was against St. Pius," Bullock said. "Kennett's beaten us the last seven or eight years in a row.

"This was kind of a game where people would say, 'well, okay, they won one. But let's see what they do against Kennett.'"

For Bulldogs like Allen, this win against Kennett may be the signature win they were looking for. It may shine light on what won't be hidden in Portageville for much longer.

"We have to be focused on what's ahead," said Bullock. "Our kids want and need to get better every day. Right now, I believe, we're doing that."


First Quarter

P -- Dominique Walker 95 kick return (kick failed), 11:46

K -- Declan Wallace 12 pass to Cameron Harper (Bud Hilburn kick), 8:24

Third Quarter

P -- Daniel Allen 53 run (Allen run), 9:20

P -- Walker 16 run (kick blocked), 1:06

Fourth Quarter

P -- Walker 20 run (Hunter Cook kick), 11:52

First downs815
Total yards184299
Passing yards707

Rushing -- Kennett, Declan Wallace 17-40, Darius Warren 13-67, Ridge Diffine 1-7. Portageville, Daniel Allen 24-154, Dion Foster 8-62, Dominique Walker 8-49, Bryce Wallace 4-(-2), Denzell Simmons 1-5, Landon Delisle 5-24.

Passing -- Kennett, Declan Wallace 6-15-0 70. Portageville, Bryce Wallace 2-7-0 7.

Receiving -- Kennett, Cameron Harper 2-12, Darius Warren 1-23, Treyvon Bradford 3-38, Bron McPherson 1-7.