The Port Arthur News
PORT NECHES —
Forget the Week Zero win over Silsbee. Forget the Week One win over West Orange-Stark and also forget the Week Two loss to Humble Summer Creek.
That is the message Port Neches-Groves Coach Brandon Faircloth is telling his players and coaches heading into next week’s District 20-4A opener at Lumberton.
The Indians have this week off after an impressive opening three weeks.
PN-G’s could not have gotten off to a much better start with big wins against 3A foes Silsbee and WO-S. The victory over the Mustangs was the first win against WO-S since 1996.
PN-G then lost to No. 4 Summer Creek after holding a lead at halftime. The Bulldogs ran off 24 unanswered points in the third quarter to overtake the Indians.
The record is solid but the non-district success means nothing if the Indians falter in the upcoming district race.
“We need to put all that out of our minds,” Faircloth said. “The past success will not lead to future success. Our tough non-district opponents showed us a few weaknesses and now it is up to us to improve in those areas.”
PN-G’s offense is off to a blistering start even against three tough opponents. The Indians are averaging 378 yards a game in 2013.
Quarterback Ky Walker has thrown for 583 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions. Walker was knocked out of the Summer Creek game after suffering a concussion. Faircloth reported Tuesday Walker was back at practice this week and will be on the field against the Raiders.
Freshman Adam Morse stepped in for PN-G against Summer Creek and threw for 153 yards on 21-for-36 passing with an interception and a touchdown.
Brent Halfin leads the PN-G rushing attack with 583 yards, while a pair of receivers are making headlines on The Reservation. Kaleb Sparks has 24 catches for 253 yards while Jeremiah Rose has 25 receptions for 316 yards.
Yet it is another area on the offense Faircloth applauded the most.
“Our offensive line has done a great job this year,” Faircloth said. “Those guys have been the key for us as a team. They have protected our quarterbacks and have done a great job in run blocking. We would not be where we are today without those guys.”
PN-G’s defense is giving up an average of 383 yards a game.
“Our guys on defense run to the ball well,” Faircloth said. “We are not the biggest team, and probably never will be, but our guys never take a play off on defense. Our coaches have come up with great schemes each week and our players have bought into the plans each week.
“On special teams we will continue to look for consistency. We have to continue to hold our blocks and create some running room. We have done a good job on blocking during punts and we hope to continue to improve on special teams.”
Any year the Indians do not make the playoffs is a disappointment for Faircloth, his team and the PN-G community. The Indians must get through a tough district schedule to reach the postseason.
“Our district, simply put, is brutal,” Faircloth said. “It is incredible. Any Friday night you can get beat by anyone. You have to be at your best or you will not win a game. We want that taste out of our mouth of not making the playoffs. We want to play in Week 11 and I truly believe we have the team to reach our goal this year.”