, Port Arthur, Texas


October 17, 2013

Gabe Pruett column: Covering Mid-County Madness special to a reporter

PORT ARTHUR —   From fifth grade until graduation, my blood was purple. Yes Nederland fans, the guy who has covered three of your games this year is a bleeping PN-G Indian.

 Calm down Bulldogs, because I always say soon after my graduation in 1998, things started to move me farther away from my alma mater and I was kicked off The Reservation.

 While working for almost a decade at The Orange Leader, I stopped wearing purple. There is probably only one purple shirt in my closet. That is against Rule No. 2 in the PN-G Code Book if I remember right. (The first rule is to know the words to Cherokee and hum it when around Nederland folks.)

 I was away from the Nederland-PN-G game for so long I think I started to forget how big it is. One never fully forgets Mid County Madness but its magnitude was diminishing in my head.

 Since 1998, yours truly has only been to one half of a PN-G/Nederland game and that came last year.

 What a wake up call this week has been.

 We had some fun games to cover in Orange County. Any West Orange-Stark game fell into that category, and the Bayou Bowl between Orangefield and Bridge City is a great rivalry between two fantastic communities.

 Nothing, however, compares to Mid County Madness. It has been great listening to the two coaches talk about this game and seeing a different look in both Brandon Faircloth and Larry Neumann’s eyes.

 The piece printed on Thursday in The Port Arthur News detailing the 1999 and 2000 games which pitted two friends against each other was an honor to write. Listening to PN-G’s Joey Price and Nederland’s Kevin Barbay talk about their experiences gave me goose bumps.

 When kickoff comes tonight, I will have authored six stories on Mid-County Madness this week. It is hard to imagine any other high school rivalry game in the entire nation warrants that much attention from a hometown newspaper.

 After talking to so many people about Mid County Madness, I can firmly say the work was well worth it and the two schools deserved the attention.

 The hardest part of the entire situation of covering Mid County Madness came on Monday when The News sports department turned in our weekly picks for the I Beat Bob West contest.

 Once again, I gave the Indians a reason to move me farther down the totem pole by selecting Nederland to win the game. To plead my case, it was very hard to pick against a Bulldogs team that has won 20 straight games in District 20-4A. That alone made my decision.

 Sports writers go into these types of games with an unbiased approach and leave with memories of their own from the contest they watched.

 Everyone involved in tonight’s Mid County Madness should take a moment at some point and soak in the atmosphere.

 This might be my first PN-G-Nederland game to cover but this is my 12th year covering sports. I have covered perahps 150 football games by the age of 33. I am smart enough to know tonight’s game could very well be the most special game I write about, no matter the outcome.


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  • Bassmaster Elites are coming back

    The Bassmaster Elite Series returns to Southeast Texas in March 2015 to fish out of Orange.
    The announcement was made last week, ahead of Bassmaster’s official tournament schedule announcement and the buzz is already strong in Southeast Texas and beyond.
    I was in Orlando, Fla. attending the ICAST (fishing trade) show and talked with a number of top anglers including Kevin VanDam, Mike Iaconelli and Shaw Grigsby who said it was no surprise they would return considering the massive turnout for the weigh-ins and that the area welcomed them in a very special way.
    It’s far too early to speculate anything like who the top contenders will be or how the fishing will be but there are some things to keep in mind and to look for over the next few months and into the event itself.
    • Prefishing-There is a pre-fishing cutoff that usually extends to right before the Bassmaster Classic and I fully expect most of the anglers in the Elites to come back and prefish.
    Last go-round probably 2/3 of the field fished the area but this time I expect that to be just about everyone. Many of the anglers that did not pre-fish told me they expected to have a lot of water to fish but the sheer volume and diversity was almost overwhelming.
    Beginning probably in the early fall we will see many anglers fishing local waters to get a better idea on how to approach the area.
    • East to West Runs-The Elite anglers fished far and wide but I expect even more running next go-round. After launching from the Simmons Drive Boat Ramp in Orange angler Bill Lowen ran down the Intracoastal, across Galveston Bay and fished in the Clear Lake area and placed in the top 12. The more adventurous anglers will try super long runs, in my opinion, even longer than last time to try and score on big fish. The Intracoastal Canal system makes that possible.
    • Sabine River -Very few of the anglers actually fished in the Sabine River despite the event being called the “Sabine River Challenge”. I think that will change with more anglers running as far north as they can to find pockets of fish that receive little pressure and perhaps a four or five-pounder to push them over the top.
    • Bigger Turnout-Last year some 34,000 people attended the event which set a Bassmaster record for an Elite event.
     It was broken a couple of weeks later in New York but I fully expect the 2015 tournament to draw 40,000 plus. The reason they are coming back is not for the stellar fishing because while we have lots of bass, everyone knows our fishery cannot compare to Toledo Bend for example.
    The support from the public however was amazing and that is what is bringing the top anglers on the planet to fish our area.
    We will have the very best coverage of the event beginning now and leading up to it with exclusive interviews with all of the top pros with not only their thoughts on the big event but with unique tips on how you can catch more fish.
    It’s an exciting time and I look forward to bringing you special coverage on a special event.
    (To contact Chester Moore, e-mail him at You can hear him on “Moore Outdoors” Fridays from 6-7 p.m. on Newstalk AM 560 KLVI or online at or watch him on “God’ Outdoors with Chester Moore” Saturdays at 10 a.m. on

    July 23, 2014

  • Mid County knocked out of tournament

    The Mid County 16-18 Babe Ruth squad’s run to the World Series is over.

    July 22, 2014

  • West golf notepad: West duo claims title in Texas Father-Son

    July 22, 2014

  • Mid County sets up championship series with Tri County

    The Southwest Regional Babe Ruth championship series is set and yes the hometown Mid County squad will be there to play.

    July 21, 2014

  • MC Babe Ruth goes 2-0

    First things first, give Clint Landry and the rest of the officials credit for making the Southwest Regional Babe Ruth tournament possible this weekend at Nederland High School.

    July 19, 2014

  • Up the odds for solid bank fishing

    There are certain limitations to fishing without a boat.

    July 19, 2014

  • Derek Williams, Summer Money League light up the lanes at Max Bowl

    Thursday nights Summer Money League produced some very impressive scores.

    July 19, 2014

  • West column: Pacers hiring Pat Knight didn't help Lamar

    July 19, 2014

  • Babe Ruth.jpg Mid County Babe Ruth set to host Southwest Regional

    The Mid County Babe Ruth 18U team is once again knocking on the World Series door. Mid County will host the Southwest Regional at Nederland High School starting today. Mid County’s first game of the tournament is slated for 7 p.m. Friday against Pine Bluff, Ark. Thursday was a special day for Mid County Babe Ruth as two locals, Jimmy Collins (shown speaking) and Skip Hopkins (back left) were inducated intot he Southwest Regional Babe Ruth Hall of Fame. Both Hopkins and Collins have been involved in Babe Ruth for over 40 consecutive years either as player, coach or board member. There are nine teams in the tournament with the winner headed to Washington state for the World Series.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • West golf notepad: Eleven-year-old Henry scores ace in YMBL tourney

    July 15, 2014

From the Fieldhouse blog