ST. JOHN | Lake Central and Portage spent all Friday night trading big defensive plays, and in the end, Lake Central made the last one.
Mitchell Oskam intercepted Gage Pearman to halt Portage’s final drive and seal a 12-8 win for Times No. 7 Lake Central in Duneland Athletic Conference play.
Lake Central forced four Portage turnovers and limited them to a safety and two field goals.
“We’re a work in progress on offense, so we have to rely on our defense,” said Lake Central coach Brett St. Germain. “They understand that. We’re glad that we’ve got them, and they are playing well enough to help us win games.”
Trailing 12-5, Portage’s Peter Psomadelis picked off a Colin Studer pass and returned it to the Lake Central 19. Portage ran three plays and could only gain four yards and had to settle for a 32-yard field goal from Nathan Johnson.
On each of its following three possessions, Portage (1-2, 0-1 DAC) moved the ball into Lake Central territory, but couldn’t score.
“We knew it was going to be tough sledding on offense,” said Portage coach Wally McCormack. “We’re young on offense. We’ve played some pretty good teams, and we’re getting better.”
On the first of those three drives, Cody Maldonado caught an out route and went 40 yards for the score, but the play was nullified by a penalty.
Antwan Davis, who finished with four grabs for 107 yards, provided all the offense Lake Central (2-1, 1-0) needed with two touchdown catches.
On his second touchdown, he jumped over the top of a Portage defender to turn an interception into a touchdown. The play came on 4th-and-8 from the Portage 17 and put Lake Central ahead 12-5 late in the first half.
“Every team needs playmakers, and for our team he’s one of them,” St. Germain said. “That catch he made in the end zone was just a kid making a play.”
Davis scored on Lake Central’s first offensive play of the game when he took a wheel route 49 yards for a score.
Colin Studer completed seven passes for Lake Central for 130 yards and two scores.
Pearman had 10 completions for 128 yards to lead Portage.