With an authoritative baritone that blankets an open field like the steady rain falling Friday night, Togba Porte made known the primary difference between his Academy Park team and Springfield.
“We’ve been here before,” the defensive end, who sings the national anthem before home games, intoned as he stalked the sidelines. “They haven’t.”
“It’s not bragging,” Porte would clarify later, “just facts.”
Under the bright lights of a district final, this one in the rejiggered District 1 Class 5A, Porte knew that the pressure would strike both sidelines at some point, like a linebacker bursting into the backfield (of which the collision packed plenty, too).
When that inevitably occurs, Porte implicitly asked, who reacts first? Or best?
Springfield responded admirably, like a top seed and the champion of a Central League that generated two district finalists. But Academy Park’s answer to adversity, time and again, reflected its championship pedigree.
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