The Port Arthur News
PORT NECHES —
Beaumont Ozen ran over Port Neches-Groves at The Reservation Friday night, collecting almost 300 total rushing yards in a 27-14 victory to ruin the Indians’ homecoming.
The teams were flagged 23 times for a combined 231 penalty yards, keeping the final score relatively low in what was otherwise an offensive battle.
The Panthers (3-6, 2-4) ran 40 times for 298 yards, gaining 12 first downs on a run. After being shutout last week by Nederland, Ozen changed signal callers to give Javaris Curl a chance, and he did not disappoint, collecting 193 total yards and two touchdowns.
The Indians (2-7, 1-5) started the game with a fumble on their second play from scrimmage, which quickly led to Ozen’s first touchdown. Quarterback A.J. Smith threw a screen pass to receiver Jeremiah Rose, who lost control of the ball after being hit immediately.
Ozen scored on a five-yard run by JaKobi Jones and never lost the lead.
After a quick three-and-out by PN-G the following possession, the Panthers marched into the red zone and threatened to extend their lead. But Ky Walker, the starting quarterback turned defensive back, pulled down an interception in the end zone to kill the drive.
Ozen regained possession quickly once again, however, and took a 14-0 lead on a 12-yard run by Jones, his second score of the game.
The Indians finally found the end zone near the end of the first half with a three-yard run by Kaleb Clark.
The score could have been higher for both teams if not for penalties. PN-G was flagged eight times for 91 yards, and Ozen drew 15 fouls for 135 yards.
“By the ninth game of the season you definitely don’t want to be a highly-penalized team,” PN-G head coach Brandon Faircloth said. “We’ve got to continue to work on our discipline and get better at that.”
The end of the third quarter served as a microcosm for the entire game, as Ozen gave PN-G great field position on a penalty and the Indians gave it back the same way.
After an Ozen score to make the game 21-8, PN-G had a 38-yard kickoff return. The Indians then jumped down to Ozen’s 35 yard line on a pass interference call on the Panthers, drew a holding call, and had three consecutive rushing attempts for negative yards. After five plays they were back on their own 16 yard line.
PN-G did find the end zone one more time before the game ended, scoring on a 28-yard run by Smith. Needing less than 50 passing yard to crack 1,000 for the season, Smith gained 68 yards through the air and 36 on the ground.
“They had a lot of guys in there,” Faircloth said. “We were trying to do the best with how we were lining up. They weren’t giving us many quarterback runs so we tried to do some other things.”
The Indians gave up 12 runs of 10 yards or more, including three plays for more than 30 yards. PN-G’s longest play was a 29-yard catch by Blake Lane.
“We gave up big plays and didn’t move the ball as well as we needed to,” Faircloth said. “But give Ozen credit. They have a good team.”
For Ozen, Jones had 83 yards on 11 carries, Xavier Johnes collected 97 yards on 10 attempts, and Curl had 117 rushing yards. Andrew Michael had five catches for 53 yards and Ronnie Ceasar had two catches for 12 yards and a score for the Panthers.
Spencer Wommack was the lead rusher for PN-G with 37 yards on nine carries, and Rose had four catches for 18 yards.
“Obviously they’re disappointed,” Faircloth said. “But they earned the right to be. We’re proud of them. They leave it out on the field and do the best they can.”