LAPORTE | Portage running back Hashim Simpson’s first career pass wasn’t pretty, but it was effective.
Simpson lined up as the quarterback in a wildcat formation and tossed a pass to Cameron Vaughn on a two-point conversion try to give the Times No. 8 Indians a 36-35 double overtime win over LaPorte on Friday night.
“The last few times we ran that formation, (LaPorte) brought the corners and the safeties up,” Portage coach Wally McCormack said. “I knew there wasn’t going to be anybody there. I didn’t know if we were going to be able to get it off or not.”
Simpson took one step toward the line of scrimmage and then lofted a pass to a wide-open Vaughn that set off a celebration on the Portage sideline.
“We made the decision at the beginning of that last period that if we got the ball and were fortunate enough to score that we were going to go for two,” McCormack said.
Vaughn caught a 10-yard touchdown pass from Gage Pearman on the first play of Portage’s second overtime possession to get the Indians (6-3, 5-2 DAC) within one at 35-34.
Both teams scored on their first possession in overtime. Cody Maldonado caught a 9-yard pass from Pearman for Portage, and Luc McCarty caught a 7-yard score from Mike Ash.
Ash found Nick Willoughby in the back of the end zone for a 2-yard score to give the Slicers a 35-28 lead to start the second overtime.
Simpson, who finished with 111 yards on 24 carries, scored from 11 yards out with 5:26 left in the game to knot the score at 21-21. Simpson had three touchdowns in the game, and 105 of his yards came after halftime.
“I was counting in my head at halftime that Hashim had only had three or four touches, and that didn’t seem real logical,” McCormack said.
The Indians had a chance to win the game late in regulation, but Nathan Johnson’s 28-yard field goal attempt was no good with 0:30 to play.
Charles Salary put the Slicers in front 14-7 late in the second quarter with a 40-yard touchdown run. He took the handoff in between the right guard and tackle and raced untouched into the end zone.
Salary finished with 140 yards and a touchdown on 30 carries.
LaPorte took a 7-0 lead on the opening possession of the game. Ash capped an 11-play, 65-yard drive with an 8-yard pass to Tyler Littlejohn.
Ash finished the game with four touchdown passes.
Simpson put the Indians on the scoreboard with a 2-yard run with 5:31 before halftime.