Iron Mountain Native John Novara leads Portland to Division 5 state title
By Donnie Dwyer
Sun, 25 Nov 2012 05:54:31 GMT — When Portland needed its defense to step up, the Raiders' defense that features 10 starting seniors responded, just as it has all season.With 4:27 remaining in the game, Portland fumbled on Grand Rapids West Catholic's 32-yard line, and the Raiders defense was challenged with the task of protecting a 12-9 lead.After West Catholic drove deep into Portland's territory, the Falcons faced a fourth-and-goal from the 14-yard line. Instead of attempting to kick a game-tying field goal, West Catholic went for the win, and Portland's defense stood its ground.West Catholic's quarterback Travis Russell hit wide receiver David Bancuk on a screen pass, but Adam Goodman and Dylan Carroll â?? two of Portland's senior defenders â?? were there to tackle him 12 yards short of the end zone."(Before the play) I was a little nervous, but at the same time it was really exciting because it was the last stop we had to make," Goodman said. "All we had to do was go out there and run a couple offensive plays, and the game was over."The defense has been there all season, and we're just happy to make that one last play to win us a state championship."After the defensive stop, Portland's offense was able to pick up a first down, and eventually ran out the remaining 50 seconds to win its first-ever football championship, 12-9.On the game, Carroll and Goodman led Portland on defense with 13 and eight tackles respectively."I just went out there, and played the game and went 100 percent," Carroll said. "I wasn't going to go out without a state championship this year."Our seniors deserve it."Other than his tackle at the end of the game, Carroll's most important play was midway through the third quarter when he prevented West Catholic from scoring a touchdown.On second-and-10 from the 43-yard line, West Catholic's running back Andy Corey broke through the defense, and in a diving effort, Carroll was able to trip him up at the 6-yard line.After West Catholic failed to convert on third-and-goal, the Falcons were forced to attempt a 27-yard field goal, but it was blocked, and Portland maintained its 12-7 lead."(The tackle by Carroll was) a huge play, but he's got a great motor," Portland coach John Novara said. "He flies around and he makes plays."Along with his eight tackles, Goodman also had an interception in the end zone early in the second quarter. Goodman's interception was one of three interceptions that Portland recorded in the first half."We knew we had to create some turnovers, and get the ball back to our offense," Novara said. "Our defense just did it all night long against a great football team."Throughout the entire 2012 season, Portland's 10 seniors on defense have led a young, inexperienced Raider offense. In Portland's 14 games this season, the Raiders gave up more than 14 points only three times."We have 10 seniors that play on defense and 10 kids that led us all year long," Novara said. "We're going to have eight returning kids on offense, and our defense kind of carried us and let our offense grow up."These guys did a great job all night long and made some plays on defense."
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