H.S. football: Edward Little takes down Portland, 24-16

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Edward Little’s Kevin Lachance catches Portland’s Zachary Elowitch in the backfield for a big loss during the first half of Friday night’s football game at Walton Field in Auburn.

Edward Little’s Kevin Lachance catches Portland’s Zachary Elowitch in the backfield for a big loss during the first half of Friday night’s football game at Walton Field in Auburn.

AUBURN — Senior Caden Begos credited his offensive line for helping achieve his 87 yards and three touchdowns, as Edward Little held off Portland for its second win of the year, 24-16, at Walton Field on Friday.

“My line was really holding up,” Begos said. “They did a wonderful job and because of them I was able to hit the holes, get those touchdowns, and win the game.”

On 23 carries, Begos wore down a young Portland defense effectively, something Edward Little head coach Dave Sterling said his senior tailback has been working on this year.

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“He’s a powerful runner,” Sterling said. “The thing I can’t emphasize enough is that when Caden does drills, he does them slower now, he’s become more effective. He’s a powerful runner and that’s going to help us week-by-week.”

The Eddies and the Broncos both were stopped on their first drives of the game as each team tried to feel out the other; Edward Little with its run-and-pass offense and Portland with its zone-running scheme. The Eddies leaned on Begos for the majority of the carries in the first half, as the senior tallied 52 yards.

Edward Little quarterback Grant Hartley struggled in the air, but in the first quarter he was able to connect with Josh Hamel for a 35-yard gain, the biggest gain for the Eddies on the night.

On Edward Little’s fourth drive of the game, the Eddies achieved great field position by way of a blocked punt that set them up on the Bronco’s 17-yard line. Hartley and Begos went back-and-forth on runs through Portland’s defense, and Begos capped off the drive with a 6-yard touchdown. The Eddies failed their two-point conversion attempt, as they did after each of their four touchdowns.

Portland’s next drive consisted of two runs and two flags — penalties continued to plague the Broncos throughout the game.

On the ensuing drive for Edward Little, there was a healthy mix of run and pass. Hartley connected with Xzavier Weaver on an 8-yard pass on third down to move the chains, then later followed it with a 10-yard pass to Terrell Thomas that got the Eddies into the red zone. Begos ran the ball two more times, ending the drive with his second touchdown.

“Last week, our gameplan was to run the ball and pass it,” Begos said. “And that’s what helped us win this game.”

The next two drives stalled for both sides, ending the half. Portland received the kickoff to start the half and started its drive with a run from sophomore quarterback, Samuel Knop. Knop threw on second down and was picked off by Ryan Ross.

“I didn’t want to put a lot of pressure on the quarterback,” Portland head coach Jim Hartman said. “He’s young but he put it he did well at the end. He’s not going to quit … I thought he had a hell of a game.”

Edward Little drove on the ensuing possession, but turned it over on downs on Portland’s 5-yard line. Portland went three-and-out and punted to Maxx Bell, who broke a couple of tackles and brought it 47 yards to the end zone to make it 18-0 in favor of the Eddies.

Portland went three-and-out again, and Thomas came up with a block on the punt to put the Eddies on Portland’s 25. A 21-yard Hartley run setup Begos’ third touchdown on the night, increasing Edward Little’s lead to 24.

Portland’s offense stalled again, but the punt to Edward Little was muffed and recovered by Portland on the Eddies’ 2-yard line. Running back Zachary Elowitch scored on the next play, and a two-point conversion made it 24-8.

A couple of drives later, Knop completed a 36-yard pass to Griffin Foley, which led to a Knop touchdown run. The two-point conversion was good, making it a one-touchdown game at 24-16.

Edward Little punted on fourth-and-inches to pin the Broncos on the 18, and the Eddies’ defense finished Portland to end the game, something that Begos said was a team mentality.

“Once we make a mistake we have to pick ourselves up,” Begos said. “That’s the only way we win these games.”

Edward Little’s William Duclos, and Maxx Bell, left, and a host of EL defenders gang tackle Portland’s Zachary Elowitch for a loss during the first half of Friday’s football game in Auburn.

Edward Little’s William Duclos, and Maxx Bell, left, and a host of EL defenders gang tackle Portland’s Zachary Elowitch for a loss during the first half of Friday’s football game in Auburn.

Edward Little’s Maxx Bell sheds Portland tacklers and heads up the field for a big gain during Friday night’s game against Portland.

Edward LIttle’s Joshua Hamel hauls in a pass as Portland’s Cameron Connolly moves in for the tackle during Friday night’s game in Auburn.

Edward Little’s Caden Begos looks for daylight as he turns the corner and heads up the field for a big gain during Friday night’s game against Portland.

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