The Port Arthur News
BEAUMONT – Jeremiah Rose caught two touchdown passes and threw for another score but Jaguars quarterback Robert Mitchell was too much for the Indians to overcome as Central held on for a 56-50 win over Port Neches-Groves Friday night at the Thomas Center.
The two teams combined for 106 points and 995 yards of total offense. The Jaguars amassed 554 yards of offense, 252 on the ground and 302 through the air. The Indians countered with 221 yards rushing and 180 passing for 401 total yards.
Mitchell completed 25-of-30 passes for 302 yards and three touchdowns. He carried the ball 16 times for 119 yards and three more touchdowns. Kamon Darby led all rushers with 133 yards on 18 carries.
A.J. Smith turned in a solid outing for the Indians. He completed 8-of-22 passes for 165 yards and three touchdowns. He added 81 yards rushing on nine carries and two scores. Spencer Wommack rushed for 84 yards on nine carries. Rose caught five passes for 124 yards. He also threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Tim Clopton.
“We had a great night on offense and I’m really proud of our kids,” said PN-G coach Brandon Faircloth. “I’m proud of our defense too. They played hard tonight against a really good team. Our team played with great effort and I’ve never been more proud of a group of kids then I am tonight.
“In District 20-4A I don’t know that anybody knows what’s going to happen each week. Our kids really represented PN-G tonight with class, honor, and effort and we’re really proud of them.”
With the game tied at 28-28, PN-G took the opening possession of the third quarter and scored on a 40-yard pass from Smith to Rose to give the Indians their first lead of the game at 35-28.
Central responded with a pair of third quarter scores to reclaim the lead. Mitchell connected with his brother Garrison Mitchell on both scores, the first on a 42-yard scoring strike and the second on a 7-yard completion to put the Jaguars back on top at 42-35 with :23 remaining in the quarter.
An 18-yard touchdown pass from Smith to Clopton tied the game at 42-42. The Jaguars answered right back on Mitchell’s 1-yard scoring toss to Chris Allen to put the Jaguars back on top at 49-42 with 4:04 remaining in the game.
PN-G (2-4, 1-2) marched right back down the field. Clopton and Wommack each had 19-yard runs on the drive. Wommack’s 10-yard run gave the Indians first and goal at the 3. Smith scored on a quarterback sneak . PN-G decided to go for two and Smith connected with Deny McDaniel to give the Indians a 50-49 lead with 2:46 remaining.
“We always keep a play in our pocket,” said Faircloth on the two-point conversion. “On the road and down by one, we decided to go for two and the win. It was a great catch by Deny McDaniel. We just couldn’t hold on for the win.”
That proved to be too much time for Mitchell and the Jaguars. Mitchell completed a 12-yard pass to Nicalus Rhone to put the ball at midfield. Mitchell was flushed from the pocket and scrambled 50 yards for the game-winning score with 1:34 remaining.
Smith was intercepted by Garrison Mitchell, his second of the game, to end any last minute rally by the Indians and secure the Jaguars 56-50 win.
“I thought he (Smith) played really well,” said Faircloth. “He had a good week of practice and really seemed to focus after last week.
“It was a great effort by our offense. We just came up a few points short. We have to go back to work Monday and find those points."
PN-G won the opening toss and elected to defer until the second half. Central’s Darby proceeded to return in the opening kickoff 82 yards for a touchdown.
That decision didn’t appear so good until Kaleb Clark returned the ensuing kickoff 93 yards for a matching touchdown. Those two plays set the tone for a very offensive first quarter.
Central (2-4, 2-1) scored in its next possession. Mitchell went 4-for-4 passing for 34 yards, including a 17-yarder to brother Garrison Mitchell to the PN-G 11. Mitchell followed with an 11-yard touchdown run to put the Jaguars up 14-7.
The Indians responded with their own scoring drive. Smith connected with Clopton on a 24-yard completion to the Central 29. PN-G dipped into its bag of tricks as receiver Jeremiah Rose took the ball on a reverse and passed to Clopton for a 15-yard touchdown to tie the game at 14-14.
The Jaguars answered right back with a quick four-play drive. Mitchell hit Rhone for a 29-yard scoring strike to make the score 21-14.
Again, PN-G was able to respond with a scoring drive of its own. Facing third-and-seven at his own 38, Smith scrambled around left end and raced 62 yards for a touchdown to tie the game at 21-21.
Following a good kickoff return by Rhone to the Indian 35, the Jaguars didn’t waste the good field position. After connecting with Landon Malbrough for a 12-yard completion, Mitchell called his own number on a 15-yard scoring run to make the score 28-21 at the end of the first quarter.
PN-G took advantage of a Mitchell fumble, which was recovered by Bradley Broussard, to pull even with the Jaguars. On third-and-20, Smith hit Rose over the middle for a 63-yard scoring strike that tied the game at 28-28.
Garrison Mitchell caught nine passes for 116 yards and two TD’s. Rhone added 82 yards on eight receptions and Malbrough had four grabs for 84 yards.