On paper it was a pretty close game. On the scoreboard it wasn’t.
The undefeated Portola High School football team used big plays and capitalized on three Biggs turnovers to blow out the Wolverines 42-7 Friday night at Bob Wise Memorial Stadium.
The victory improved the Tigers to 2-0 in the Mid-Valley League and 7-0 overall. Biggs fell to 0-2 in league and 3-4 for the season.
“Good work tonight. Excellent all the way around,” Portola coach Steve Heskett told his team amid chants of “Pizza! Pizza! Pizza! Pizza!” from the fired-up players.
The Tigers came out fired-up in the opening seconds of the game. Kameron Osbourn recovered a Biggs fumble on the first play from scrimmage. Two players later, Zack Martinez ran 12 yards for a touchdown.
Oscar Romero followed with the first of his five extra points to give the Tigers a 7-0 lead just 39 seconds into the game.
Four minutes later, Ricky Lowdermilk threw a pass to Michael Martinez, who shed two tacklers and raced 63 yards for a TD.
The Tigers never looked back as they routed a pretty good Biggs team. The Wolverines looked good the previous week in a 33-19 loss against previously undefeated Chester.
“They played Chester pretty tough last week. So we are pleased with this victory,” Heskett said. “I think we are playing our best football right now.”
The Wolverines ran the ball well, gaining 217 yards on the ground to Portola’s 206. And Biggs actually had more first downs (16) than the Tigers (10).
But Portola stopped several Biggs drives with fumble recoveries and interceptions.
Cody Remington intercepted a pass on the Tigers’ 1-yard line to thwart a Biggs 15-play, 79-yard drive with just 18 seconds left in the first half.
Lowdermilk turned in the most dazzling play of the game when he intercepted a pass late in the third quarter. He broke two tackles, reversed field, and ran 40 yards for a touchdown to give the Tigers a 41-0 lead. Romero’s extra point made it 42-0 with 4:38 to play in the third quarter.
Lowdermilk also had a solid game as quarterback. Although he wasn’t forced to throw often, he completed six of 10 passes for 145 yards and two touchdowns.
Romero caught Lowdermilk’s second TD pass to give the Tigers a 28-0 lead at the half.
Portola, despite having two of its best linemen home sick for the game, had a solid rushing attack.
Eight different Tigers contributed on the ground, led by Klint Williams who had 101 yards on just five carries. The senior had TD runs of 45 and 16 yards.
The only glitch in Portola’s night was its kicking game. The Tigers’ Romero missed all three of his field goal attempts. But two of those attempts were from more than 50 yards.
“We’ve got to punch the field goals through. Three points is huge. It’s going to be huge down the stretch,” Heskett said.
But the coach took some of the blame for the missed kicks, even though Romero is one of the one of the top kickers in the Northern Section.
“(Romero) makes (50-yard field goals) in practice,” Heskett said. “But it was a little cold out here, and the ball was a little hard. It might have been a bad call on my part.”
Portola faces its biggest challenge of the season Friday night when it travels to play Maxwell.
Maxwell defeated unbeaten Chester 27-22 last Friday in Chester.
Tigers 42, Wolverines 7
Biggs 0 0 0 7 – 7
Portola 14 14 14 0 – 42
P – Z. Martinez 12 run. Romero kick (7-0) 11:21
P – M. Martinez 63 pass from Lowdermilk. Romero kick (14-0) 7:32
P – Williams 45 run. Romero kick (21-0) 9:43
P – Romero 11 pass from Lowdermilk. Romero kick (28-0) 5:25
P – Williams 16 run. Romero kick (35-0) 7:42
P – Lowdermilk 40 interception return. Romero kick (42-0) 4:38
B – Milburn 3 run. Milbrath kick (42-7) 9:24
Passing: P: Lowdermilk, 6-10-2-0 – 145. B: Roles, 4-11-0-2 – 60; Callaway, 0-1-0-0 – 0.
Rushing: P: Williams, 5-101; Z. Martinez, 12-64; Ward, 2-14; Bendbow, 3-12; Colin, 2-4; Remington, 1-3; Harvey, 1-3; Lowdermilk, 1-2. B: Felkins, 14-76; Callaway, 12-62; Evenson, 11-39; Milburn, 7-30; Roles, 6-10.
Receiving: P: M. Martinez, 3-118; Romero, 1-11; Ko. Osbourn, 1-9; Williams, 1-7. B: Milburn, 3-48; Callaway, 1-12.
Penalties: P: 5-35. B: 5-25.