The Port Arthur News
PORT NECHES —
For two years Chris Mangini knew 90-percent if he did not let go of an opponent there would be a yellow flag on the field and he would cost the Port Neches-Groves Indians 10 yards for holding.
It was one of the bummers for being an offensive lineman as both a sophomore and junior on the Indians football team.
So when Coach Brandon Faircloth and his staff asked Mangini to make the switch to nose guard it took a couple weeks to realize holding was now one of his best tactics on defense.
“The first time I held a guy when playing on defense I looked around for a flag but it never came,” Mangini said. “I can finally hold legally and not get in trouble the next time I run off the field.”
Mangini was a two-year starter for Faircloth on the offensive line and was even selected to the District 20-4A All-District Team as a junior. Faircloth decided before spring practice Mangini would make the switch.
“Making that switch takes a lot of work,” Faircloth said. “He never asked questions and will always do what we ask him to do because he wants to win. He spent all spring at nose guard and he was really excited about the challenge. He is a great fit for us.”
There is no denying being an offensive lineman is a physical duty on a football team. Mangini said, though, he had to change his mentality when moving from offense to defense.
“Playing on the offensive line you have to be aggressive but being on defense takes even more aggressive play,” Mangini said. “I spent two years on the offensive line and there is not much glory being on the offensive line. Now I can count the tackles and sacks after the games, that is a plus.”
Making the switch to defense did not happen overnight for Mangini. The 6-foot, 280-pound senior said it took a week to learn the defensive plays and to grasp his assignments.
Mangini’s switch was first shown off against the West Orange-Stark Mustangs this past Friday, a game the Indians won 37-34. It was the first time since 1996 the Indians defeated the Mustangs.
“There was nothing better than getting that win,” Mangini said. “A lot of people doubted us going into the game and it feels good to be one of only a few PN-G teams to beat West Orange.”
What Mangini saw against WO-S will likely triple on Thursday when his team faces No. 4 Humble Summer Creek.
“Teams like Summer Creek and West Orange are so fast but good technique will slow speed down,” Mangini added. “We respect every one of our opponents yet my goal for this team is to win every game. If that happens, then the district titles and everything else falls into place.”
`INDIAN INKLINGS: Chris Mangini is the son of Jann and Steve Mangini…Mangini’s goals after his high school graduation go far beyond the football fields. Mangini plans to attend Texas A&M University and major in electrical engineering. So far there have been no colleges reach out to Mangini, but if his play continues to be at a high level and recruits do come, he said he would be interested in playing college football…Mangini had to fight back a laugh when asked who he bases his game off of and who he enjoys watching at the pro level. He finally said Denver’s Von Miller is his name. The laughter was from the fact Miller was suspended six games for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. Mangini only tries to model after Miller’s performance on the field, not his extracurricular activities.