The Port Arthur News
LITTLE CYPRESS —
LITTLE CYPRESS – Hail, Sezer. Well met.
The Port Neches-Groves defense will have its hands full trying to meet Little Cypress-Mauriceville running back Alex Sezer well and keep him contained. The explosive back is committed to Texas A&M and may be the fastest player in District 20-4A.
“It’s pretty much all eyes on No. 21 (Sezer) for us,” PN-G head coach Brandon Faircloth said. “We have to contain that guy. He can score at any point. No one has anyone who can catch him. Livingston has Chevoski Collins and he couldn’t catch him. If he gets out there, it’s a touchdown in every district game. There is no one that can run down a guy who made the state track meet in the 100.”
Sezer will certainly be a big key in The Port Arthur News Game of the Week, as PN-G travels to LC-M in 20-4A play. But, there are plenty of other storylines.
First among them, though, is the talented Sezer. The senior is second in the district in rushing yards with 81 carries for 450 yards and seven TDs. He also starts on defense and was a key part of LC-M’s lone victory this season, a 35-20 upset over Coldspring-Oakhurst a week after the Trojans beat La Marque.
Sezer had 109 yards rushing and three TDs that week and added another 131 yards and two TDs in last week’s 42-35 loss to Livingston.
“He’s going to get 20 touches,” Faircloth said. “They’re going to get him 25 chances to score. You have to keep him in front of you. We have to gang tackle and race to the football. You can go four plays stopping him and then he goes 80. We don’t have anyone who can do that.”
Though they couldn’t finish it off, LC-M tried to come back against Livingston last week, rallying late in the game to get in position to tie it before time ran out.
“I think the kids will bounce back, practices have been good this week,” LC-M head coach Randy Crouch said. “I thought they played really hard up in Livingston. Offensively, we moved the ball well. Defensively, we had some troubles making stops on third down. Most of all, we’re looking for some consistency. Some nights the offense plays well and sometimes the defense does well. If we can get that consistency on the same night, we’re a pretty good football team.”
The Bears played two common opponents with PN-G, falling 18-0 to West Orange-Stark and 40-37 to Silsbee. Though they haven’t had much success offensively, the Bears are pleased with the development of junior quarterback Caleb Harley, who is the district’s third leading passer with 498 yards and four TDs.
“Offensively, we’ve moved the ball pretty well the last three games,” Crouch said. “You can see that Harley is gaining more confidence each week. We’ve been able to create some big games with our passing and running game with (Alex) Sezer.”
For the Indians, all eyes will be on quarterback A.J. Smith, who rallied his team to a 34-25 victory over Lumberton last week. Smith was forced back into his spot as the starting QB when sophomore Ky Walker broke his thumb on the third play of the game.
Smith is focused this week on LC-M, though, and thinks his team has come together from some of the adversity it has dealt with this season.
“Every year, (LC-M) is going to play hard,” Smith said. “They’re that team that everyone doubts, and that team always goes out there and plays hard to prove people wrong. We have to go out there and play like every game is Mid-County Madness. We’ve never been down at any point in this season. We’ve always kept our heads up and keep that motor running. We want to go 2-0 and get another win this week.“
Helping Smith on offense will be a pair of good pass-catching options. Receiver Jeremiah Rose has emerged as the Indians top target on the outside. The junior has 17 catches for 187 yards this season, tied with H-back Tim Clopton for the team lead in receptions. Clopton has 17 catches for 201 yards and two TDs.
Clopton also will be seeing time in a few different spots. The senior carried the ball seven times for 48 yards against Lumberton, meaning the Indians may use him more often in the backfield, along with a fullback like Reece Wardlow. Of course, part of those changes are because A.J. Smith isn’t available at receiver, since he’s back at QB.
“We just have to move the football and keep Sezer on the sideline,” Faircloth said. “You can’t go three-and-out and punt. You have to keep him over there. We have got to score some points on offense, so we’re trying to figure some things out with some different formations.”