SOUTH PARIS — Portland High chewed the clock for a touchdown to start each half and beat the clock with a half-ending field goal that proved the difference Friday night in a 17-14 victory over Oxford Hills.

The Bulldogs (6-1) clinched home field in the Class A North playoffs.

Zach Elowitch rushed 34 times for 169 yards and had a key interception late, and quarterback Sam Knop rushed for both touchdowns for the Bulldogs.

Portland burned nine minutes on each touchdown drive.

“That’s huge,” Elowitch said. “Eating up nine or 10 minutes on each of those drives just kills whatever momentum they could have and sets us up to do well each half.”

Knop capped the 18-play, 65-yard drive to start the second half with a 5-yard touchdown run on a bootleg left that made it 17-14.

Portland ran 67 plays (63 rushing) to 43, and its defense did a great job stopping Oxford Hills quarterback Colton Carson on the ground (10 carries, 14 yards) and in the air (4 of 17, 77 yards, TD, two interceptions). The Bulldogs outgained the Vikings, 208-139.

“The kids responded well,” Portland Coach Jim Hartman said. “This is a gritty team. I think this defense ranks with anyone.”

The first two possessions went as well as Portland could have hoped.

After forcing a three-and-out on the Vikings’ game-opening drive, the Bulldogs started at their 40. Knop and Elowitch each converted a fourth-and-2 play to keep the 17-play drive alive, and Knop scored from 1 yard for a 7-0 lead.

The Vikings (5-2) answered after Alex Turner’s kick return set them up at the Portland 45.

On second down, Parker LaFrance took a pitch to the right sideline, got a block from Turner that allowed him to cut inside, then shook off a tackler to complete a 42-yard touchdown run one play into the second quarter.

After Portland punted, the Vikings started at their 48 and took a 14-7 lead two plays later when Carson found a wide-open Jonny Pruett down the left sideline for a 53-yard touchdown.

Elowitch’s longest run of the night, 48 yards, got the Bulldogs to the Oxford Hills 9.

They advanced to the 4, but facing fourth down with the clock running and out of timeouts, the field-goal unit had to scramble onto the field.

Cristo Vumpa’s 20-yard field goal split the uprights as the halftime siren sounded to cut Oxford Hills’ lead to 14-10.