The Port Arthur News
PORT NECHES —
Port Neches-Groves senior Dylan East could not imagine missing a potential game-winning field goal against the Nederland Bulldogs.
He could not even dream what 2000 Indians kicker Joey Price went through after doing just that. East made a field goal last Friday to put the Indians ahead of the Bulldogs 17-14 only to see Nederland rally and win 21-17.
Although the outcome was not perfect, East is smart enough to know just being on the field was an honor.
“Last Friday was a surreal experience,” East said. “The outcome was not what we wanted but it means so much to me to be a part of a great rivalry. Then to learn of Bum Phillips’ death was crazy. It was so weird knowing he was 90 and it was the 90th game. Both communities owe so much to Coach Phillips. He meant so much to both schools.”
East means a lot to the PN-G Indians. He is a two-year starter for Coach Brandon Faircloth and certainly has put in his time. He’s also a key cog on the Indians soccer team.
“Dylan has made some big field goals for us,” Faircloth said. “He is a very valuable kid on our team. He has the best quality you have to have as a kicker. He is poised. That is very important.”
East is not the perfect kicker. He has missed his share of but it is what he has done after the misses that sets him apart.
Kickers have to quickly forget the failed field goal attempts and get back to work.
“Last year was a tough year for the team and there were a couple times when I missed costly field goals,” East said. “It is hard work being the kicker. There are always eyes on us. I try to visualize each kick going in before I even attempt the kick. That seems to help.”
Faircloth admits there can be a lot of pressure put on kickers during a game. He has been impressed on a weekly basis how East has succeeded in all aspects of the game.
East not only kicks the field goals, he puts the Indians in great field positions with his kickoffs.
“The kicker is just as important on the field as everyone else,” Faircloth said. “Dylan isn’t one of those kickers who takes time off during practice. He is out there with the team and working on his game. He even put in a lot of work during the summer. He’s been a great kicker this year.”
East is the leading scorer in District 20-4A in the kicking category with 24 PATs and six field goals.
“I put in as much practice as the rest of the team and also do as much conditioning work,” East said. “I was only punting when I was in the eighth grade and early last year I was on JV and kicking. My coaches saw the potential and moved me up to varsity.
“It is crazy my senior year is already flying by. I have enjoyed every moment being on this football team. I enjoy the pep rallies and the Friday night atmospheres. These are the best times of my life.”
INDIAN INKLINGS: Dylan East is the son of Mark and Sommer East... Dylan plans to play soccer for a college after he graduates from PN-G. He reports there are two schools interested in his soccer game — Greenville College in Illinois and Centenary College in Louisiana…East stuck with a fellow kicker as his favorite NFL player. He’s a fan of Justin Tucker of the Baltimore Ravens. Tucker was the kicker when the Texas Longhorns defeated the Texas A&M Aggies in the last game between the two rivals.