The nerves were evident for both Mishawaka and Portage as both teams prepared to take the field for the first time this season. For many players, this would also be their first game of their high school career.
Portage came roaring out of the gate scoring the first touchdown with a run-in by Isaac Hegwood early in the first quarter. But early in the second quarter, the Mishawaka offense got into a rhythm and rushed in senior Donovan Snyder for three touchdowns before the half was over.
The Mishawaka crowd packed the bleachers giving the home team an advantage over Portage. Portage Coach Wally McCormick knew this game was going to be a tough one for his young team, but he didn’t doubt they would leave everything on the field.
“These guys are always a nightmare to play week one because they do things so differently than we do,” said McCormick. “They’re going to do what they do and they’re good at it, but there’s no surprises. We just need to start off strong.”
The Indians hold a young team this year with only three returning defensive players. However, the captains know what they need to do to get the team ready. Senior Scott Hansen is prepared to lead the team and go out strong in his last season.
“We got some young guys so we just gotta get them ready for Friday night football,” said Hansen. “We just need to be vocal and know that one play doesn’t define the game and keep on going.”
For Mishawaka, tonight was all about seeing what the team can do. Coming off of a successful season last year, the cavemen are coming out to prove that they are better than ever. Head Coach Kieth Kinder was excited to get the season underway to know what the team really looks like this year.
“I think tonight will be as full-strength as we’ve been all summer with players coming back from injuries,” said Kinder. “We need to be humble and hungry so that this team can define its own legacy of Mishawaka football.
Senior Captain and MVP for Mishawaka Donovan Snyder led the team through a tough week of practice preparing for the opener. Recognizing Portage as a good opponent with a veteran offense, Snyder knew he had to step up his game.
“I’m leading by example and giving it my all,” said Snyder. “We need to take every rep like it’s our last and leave it all out there.”
Portage had a hard time keeping the cavemen at bay in the second half with the boys coming out to score another three touchdowns. But the Indians did notgive up and instead rallied to throw three touchdowns to Hansen late in the fourth quarter. Unfortunately, time ran out giving Mishawaka their first win of the season with a final score of 42-27.