PORTAGE | If Rashaan Coleman never plays another game at The Warpath, the Portage senior can take comfort that he put on a show in his final home game.
Coleman accounted for 185 total yards and two touchdowns as the Indians avoided a historic loss by knocking off LaPorte 24-17 Friday night.
Had Portage come up short against the Slicers, it would have finished in last place in the Duneland Athletic Conference for the first time since 1978.
“It feels good to get a win in front of our home crowd,” Coleman said. “Last week we got killed by Valpo. (Friday) it was a group effort that got us the win and now it’s time to go to Buffalo Wild Wings and get some food with the fans.”
Shaking off a slow start, the Indians started to move the ball with ease midway through the first quarter. Coleman accounted for all 46 yards on a five-play drive that resulted in a 15-yard touchdown run with 3:05 left in the opening quarter.
The Indians continued to ride the hot hand when Coleman caught a 13-yard touchdown pass from Gage Pearman with 3.7 seconds left in the first half. Coleman caught the pass, hit a hole and barreled through two LaPorte defenders to find the end zone just before halftime. Had he been tackled short of the goal line, its likely time would’ve run out on the Indians to attempt a field goal.
“When you see a hole that big, it’s your job to get through it and score,” Coleman said. “If you don’t, you have to go back to your offensive linemen and apologize. I didn’t want to have to tell them I was sorry.”
The Slicers (1-8, 1-6) wouldn’t go away in the second half as sophomore running back Charles Salary racked up 147 rushing yards and his 3-yard touchdown brought LaPorte within one possession with three minutes left in the game.
The Indians (3-6, 2-5) were unable to get a first down on the next possession, but senior Diondre Griffin picked off his second pass of the game from LaPorte quarterback Jonah Mason to ice the victory.
Griffin is one of 17 seniors that played in their final regular-season home game on Friday night. After the game the Portage players ran to the student section to sing the school song and celebrate with their fans. By the time they returned to midfield for a meeting with coach Wally McCormack, there were plenty of tears coming from the players.
“These seniors have had a rough go of it,” McCormack said. “They’ve had three coaches, played under four offenses and four defenses. It hasn’t been ideal, but to their credit, they’ve stuck it out.”