STEVE HANLON: Will the real Portage Indians please stand up?

2011-09-24T22:00:00Z 2012-08-30T23:52:08Z STEVE HANLON: Will the real Portage Indians please stand up?By Steve Hanlon Prep Beat nwitimes.com
September 24, 2011 10:00 pm  • 

PORTAGE | In one of the strangest Class 5A football falls in recent memory, the weird kept getting more eccentric and the freakishly fantastic got even more funkadelic.

Under the Saturday Night Lights, Portage beat Times No. 3 Chesterton 21-17 by going 90 yards inside of four minutes left -- without throwing a pass.

Yes, it's the same Portage team that allowed 62 straight points against Lake Central in Week 3. Then, the following week, the Indians did something even Jimmy the Greek would've missed -- the Indians edged Merrillville.

The parade was planned; the pats on the back were given; the dates were set with the cheerleaders, and all was right with the world ... until Crown Point's bus drove up last Friday night. A 42-0 spanking had most of the region's fans scratching their heads again.

The "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" theme for this team happened again Saturday night. Who would've thunk it?

So does this mean Michigan City will pound Portage 58-2 next Friday?

The new math seems to point to the outcome.

"No, no, no, this is the week it all changes," Portage junior quarterback Rashaan Coleman said after rushing for 188 yards and scoring two ground touchdowns and another through the air.

The one with 35.3 seconds left from 2 yards probably saved the Indians' season.

"If we would've lost tonight, things would've gotten really, really tight for us," Coleman said. "This was our rebound week. We had a meeting as a team. We talked. We found out what we need to do."

Yeah, play on even weeks. Right?

Portage coach Jeremy Flowers said the biggest difference between this Portage team and those others was the team they played. Crown Point and Lake Central have big, strong, physical offensive lines. He said his team has and will likely in the future struggle against the behemoths.

"We struggle against those big offensive lines," Flowers said. "Chesterton is big, and they're strong, but they're not as physical."

When asked how important this win was, on top of being on live television, Flowers was quick to relay the truth.

"This was huge for our kids," Flowers said. "It's been real stressful around here the last few weeks."

So which is the real Portage team? Even-week Indians or odd-week Indians? Will Michigan City really beat Portage by 60?

Or will this team find a way in a wide-open Class 5A field as the postseason approaches.

"We're going to change it this week," Coleman said. "We're going to practice hard this week and be ready. Tonight was the team we want to take into sectionals."

 

This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at steve.hanlon@nwi.com.

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