Tailgate Talk

Locals play roles in Portland State scrimmage

Kieran McDonagh, Jalen Jefferson

Portland State, which has three Clark County players on its roster, held its first scrimmage of the fall on Saturday.
Skyview grad Kieran McDonagh completed six of 11 passes for 54 yards. He led a 63-yard drive late in the 90-minute scrimmage, but the defense stopped the drive by stuffing a running play on four-and-one at the four-yard line.
A junior, McDonagh is vying with sophomore Paris Penn for the starting job. Penn had the scrimmage’s biggest play, a 77-yard TD run. He completed 7 of 12 passes for 33 yards on the day.
Vikings coach Nigel Burton praised the defense. That unit includes starting linebacker Brandon Brody-Heim, a Union High grad, and linebacker John Norcross, a redshirt freshman from Camas.
The defense made three stops in four “sudden change” first-and-goal situations from the 10-yard line. The defense also had four sacks.
“We saw playmakers on both sides of the ball and that is what you want,” Burton said.
Defense is a concern entering this season. While the Vikings had the Big Sky’s second best offense last season at 504.8 yards per game, they were 10th out of 14 teams on defense (437.5 yards per game). Saturday, the Vikings “D” allowed just two touchdowns.
Portland State is trying to replace running back DJ Adams, who was the conference’s second-leading rusher (138.6 ypg) last year as a senior.
Redshirt freshman tailback Steven Long has obviously made an impression with Burton, as the following quote shows.
“He is amazing how he can bounce out of tackles,” Burton said. “Trying to bring him down is like trying to catch a greased pig in the dark.”

Portland State opens its season Aug. 30 at Oregon State.
Click here to read more about the scrimmage.

Micah Rice

Columbian Sports Editor Micah Rice is the author of Tailgate Talk: College football from a Clark County perspective.

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