The Port Arthur News
PORT NECHES —
So far, so good.
The Port Neches-Groves football team kicked off its 2013 campaign at The Reservation in fine fettle. The Indians blanked Hamshire-Fannett in a scrimmage Friday, gaining over 400 yards in the effort.
“Our challenge to our kids in the scrimmage is to play with great effort and play with intensity,” PN-G head coach Brandon Faircloth said. “We’re going to make a lot of mistakes, we know that. I’m very pleased that we did some things well. The first scrimmage against someone else, it’s always going to go a little faster than you think. If you’re going to mess up, mess up going full speed. I thought our kids played with great effort and sometimes that can make up for mistakes.”
Split into two distinct halves, the scrimmage gave coaches and players plenty of work. In the first half, coaches were on the field behind the offensive huddle, as the teams took turns running offensive series.
After a little kicking game practice for both sides, the teams played the second half as an actual half, with two 12 minute quarters and the coaches on the sidelines.
In that second half, PN-G scored three times and kept the Longhorns off the scoreboard completely.
After a disastrous 2-8 season a year ago, the sight of PN-G’s offense purring along and the defense flying to the ball was a welcome one for fans, even in a glorified practice.
Oh, and make no mistake, the offense did hum. Starting quarterback Ky Walker completed 11 of 15 passes for 213 yards and a touchdown, finding Jeremiah Rose with three for 72 yards and Kaleb Sparks with three for 41.
Two players who loom large in PN-G’s plans this season looked great in their varsity debuts under the lights. Halfback Brant Halfin was as good as advertised, carrying six times for 62 yards and a touchdown.
Backup QB Adam Morse, also making his varsity debut, completed 2 of 6 passes for 60 yards and a TD. Morse missed on his first three passes, but found the end zone by hitting Blake Lane with a 5-yard pass on his fourth throw. Morse later connected with Jonah Belaire on a 55-yard pass down the sideline.
“(Brant) did very well,” Faircloth said. “He protected the football. He finished runs and had his shoulders down after contact. Adam had some sophomore jitters. That’s why we do this. He’s a great player and kept a great attitude about it. He didn’t get frustrated and threw a great ball when we got down there.”
The defense, too, looked good in holding down Hamshire-Fannett in both the running and passing games. For the past two weeks, Faircloth has talked up his defense’s speed, and the unit showed that all night.
Outside linebacker Bradley Broussard was one of a number of players who stood out, even though they hadn’t even game-planned for the Longhorn offense.
“Scrimmages are tough because we don’t know their plays,” Faircloth said. “Our defense is lining up out there and we haven’t game planned them or nothing. You just have to play with great effort. You’re playing base defense and you’re not doing all your stuff. You’re not giving yourself a full deck of cards in the scrimmage. What makes up for that is effort.”
PN-G will continue practice next week and will scrimmage Texas City at The Reservation on Thursday.