QB Portaro shrugs off injury to rally Crusaders

Joe Portaro acknowledged he was a little nervous of what might happen after he suffered a minor injury to his left calf Friday night.

But after missing a play while being worked on by trainers, the Faith Lutheran sophomore quarterback was back on the field.

Portaro threw for 205 yards and three touchdowns in a gutsy performance that saw the Class 3A Crusaders rally for a 31-21 home win over Spring Creek.

“I was a little bit nervous, but after I looked out at my team and noticed that my team really needed me out there, I was like, ‘I’ve got to get in there,’ ” Portaro said. “And the coaches were pumping me up. They were saying, ‘Get in there, you’re tough,’ and that’s exactly what I told myself and got right back out there.”

Filling in for starter David Sperry, who missed the game with an injury, Portaro was nearly perfect down the stretch.

The 6-foot-2-inch, 180-pound Portaro completed 15 of his final 16 pass attempts and finished 19-for-26 with one interception. He also carried 11 times for 61 yards and a touchdown, nailed a 26-yard field goal and booted four extra points.

“He’s a tough kid who is a competitor, and when it’s time to compete, whether it’s practice or on Friday nights, he’s going to be ready to go,” Faith Lutheran coach Jacob Kothe said.

Portaro hooked up with sophomore receiver Don Pearson seven times for 86 yards and two scores.

Portaro’s clinching touchdown pass to Brette Lubbe, a 20-yarder, came with 5:16 remaining.

The Crusaders (2-0) overcame a 14-0 first-quarter deficit and 229 rushing yards by the Spartans (1-1).

Spring Creek running back Zach Smith carried 21 times for 184 yards and two touchdowns, but he had to be helped off the field early in the third quarter with an apparent injury to his left leg. He did not return.

Sperry, a two-way star being recruited by San Diego, Brown, Southern Utah and Navy, sat out with cracked upper ribs. Kothe said “it could be a couple weeks” before Sperry is able to return.

• La Jolla Country Day 43, The Meadows 20 — At The Meadows, junior quarterback Derek Hatfield rushed for 164 yards and four touchdowns, and the Torreys scored 30 consecutive points in the second half to rally past the Class 2A Mustangs.

Gerard Martinez threw three touchdown passes in the first half to give The Meadows a 20-13 halftime lead.

Hatfield tied the game with a 2-yard touchdown run in the third quarter and put La Jolla ahead for good with a 60-yard scoring run later in the period.

Hatfield also threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Doug Rogers.

Rogers was dominant on defense, sacking Gerard Martinez three times and returning a fumble 13 yards for a touchdown.

— Brennan Karle

• Virgin Valley 38, Layton Christian (Utah) 8 — At Virgin Valley, Colton Teerlink rushed for 128 yards and three touchdowns to carry the Class 3A Bulldogs to victory.

Johnny Gleave set the tone with a 55-yard punt return for a touchdown in the first quarter.

Terran Leavitt also ran for a touchdown for Virgin Valley, and Jesus Gaytan kicked a 34-yard field goal.

The Bulldogs held Layton Christian to 137 total yards.

• Hurricane (Utah) 28, Moapa Valley 13 — At Hurricane, Utah, the Tigers scored the first four touchdowns of the game and held the Class 3A Pirates scoreless until the fourth quarter.

Moapa Valley’s Max Jenkins rushed for two fourth-quarter touchdowns and also threw for 161 yards.

Brad Weiss led the Pirates in rushing with 58 yards.

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