PORTLAND, Mich. -- The Raiders of Portland High School and the Falcons of Grand Rapids West Catholic have a storied rivalry when it comes to the playoffs. However, the Raiders have not been on the right side of history when it comes to this matchup.
For the second straight season and fourth time since 2010, Portland fell to West Catholic in postseason play. This time it was in heartbreaking fashion with a 28-26 loss in a game that came down to the final minute.
Down two scores with 8:29 to play in the game, quarterback Austin Allison hit senior wideout Gavin Dennany for a 51-yard score. However, a missed field goal by Tate Dziewiakowski left the Raiders down by eight points instead of seven.
West Catholic had plenty of chances to put this game away, but were unable to do so and allowed Portland to stick around. On the Falcons' next possession, senior quarterback Gaetano Vallone was picked off when a Portland defensive back jumped the route of his targeted receiver, giving possession back the the Raiders with just over five minutes to play.
The Raiders were able to capitalize on that momentum shift when Allison scored on a one-yard qb sneak right up the middle bringing the deficit to two points. But the game-tying two-point conversion failed when Allison overthrew his receiver and the score remained 28-26.
But as they have all game, Portland stuck around. The Raiders recovered the following onside kick in surprising fashion with a chance to win the game. But Connor Bolthouse had other ideas. As Allison was forced the scramble out of the pocket and heave a hail mary downfield. The prayer of a pass was picked off by Bolthouse, sealing the win for West Catholic and bringing it one step closer to Ford Field.
Portland coach John Novara shared his thoughts with the media after the game: