Chants of “this is our house” rang true in Porterville High School's 53-7 bashing of Granite Hills in Friday at Jacob Rankin Stadium.
A slow start for Porterville (2-0) lasted all of three plays before the Panthers' were off to the races with the game in their control. They ended their first drive with a 10-yard touchdown run by Isaiah Ellis followed by a fake PAT that saw quarterback Hector Nava Jr. connect with Moses Andrade for two.
Porterville laid it on Granite Hills (1-1), scoring six of their seven touchdowns in the first half with slotback Javier Benevidez accounting for four of those first six while Ellis scored the other two, including a 57-yard touchdown.
“We have some guys that we can get the football too, those three obviously,” PHS head coach Michael Machado said. “We got Javier a little more involved tonight which is nice.”
Benevidez shined on both sides of the field by breaking up a possible Grizzlies' touchdown pass in the end zone that forced a missed 16-yard field goal out of Granite. He then scored on a 5-yard run to start the second quarter up 15-0.
Defense came through big for the Panthers with the team first shutting down the run and then the Grizzlies' passing game. Porterville's Danny Castaneda had an interception off GHHS quarterback David Ramirez that led to Nava hitting Benevidez for a 38-yard touchdown pass on the ensuing drive.
“We know that we're going to have to stop teams,” Machado said. “We're pretty physical up front and we know we can stop the run, now it's just a matter of putting the back in and the secondary together to where we can play a little more consistent back there.”
Porterville's offense went off for three-straight touchdown drives, starting with Ellis' big 57-yard run on fourth down followed by 43- and 27-yard receptions by Benevidez to close out the half.
The Panthers never let up and after a 3-and-out start to the half for the Grizzlies, Porterville's Sebestian Ramos blocked Granite's punt and Hayden Scott recovered it on the Grizzlies' 16-yard line. Porterville turned that into another quick score with a 7-yard run from Jayson Thao.
After another interception, this time by Lisandro Martinez to end the third, Porterville scored for the final time on a 20-yard field goal from Nick Ward in the fourth. Ward went 6-for-6 on PATs.
Granite's lone score came in the second quarter on 76-yard pass from Ramirez to Max Jimenez, who also kicked the PAT. The team also had some bright spots on defense and Damyan Torres recovered a fumble
Right now, Porterville's offense is proving to be full of weapons with Nava, Ellis and Benevidez but the Panthers are still looking for a little more to add to their arsenal.
“We're really looking for that fourth guy,” Machado said. “So were looking for somebody out on the edge. We know Moses Andrade, he does a pretty good job inside the hashes. Javi's pretty explosive. We got Lisandro Martinez a little bit tonight.
“We just need somebody on the edge to start kind of making those plays down the field vertical,” he continued. “If we can put that portion together with the guys in the box, and we really like what we have.”
The Panthers are off next week and host Hanford on Friday, Sept. 13.