, Port Arthur, Texas


August 5, 2013

HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: 5 questions about Port Neches-Groves

PORT NECHES —  Monday marked the opening of the 2013 season for the Port Neches-Groves football team. The Indian faithful will be glad of that, as they hope to put the memory of a disappointing 2013 campaign behind them.

As the Indians took the field to start two-a-day workouts, what questions did they need to answer? What storylines will dominate practice leading up to the season? Let’s check on five of the biggest ones.

1) A good, if young, group of receivers

There are plenty of reasons to be optimistic about the Indians this year, but start with the offense. The talent at skill positions should be improved this year as players gain experience or move up from the lower levels.

Led by senior Jeremiah Rose, the most productive receiver in District 20-4A last season, the Indians should feature a lot more depth this year at wideout. Rose will be joined by Avery Murdock, who started last season, Kaleb Sparks and a number of other players who saw limited action last season.

There’s also the chance that some younger players might step up and push their way into the starting lineup. But, the Indians should have a much more consistent group of pass catchers on the outside this season.

2) Walker walking the walk

Talking with junior quarterback Ky Walker during 7-on-7 practice this summer, the main takeaway is how he seems to have embraced his role as a leader on this offense. Walker could not have had a more disappointing start to his career as the Indians signal-caller, as he broke his hand literally plays into starting the job.

To Walker’s credit, he came back as soon as he could and contributed at cornerback last season. Now, with his hand fully healed, Walker has moved into the role as the favorite to be the starting quarterback this season. He’ll find some competition from sophomore Adam Morse, but Walker is already showing some of the poise that could make him a good leader for the Indians moving forward.

3) Finding a spot for Morse

As the Indians were struggling through the 2012 campaign, each week there was talk of the exploits of the freshman team. Led by Adam Morse, those fish made a perfect run through the district.

Now a sophomore, Morse will compete with Walker for the starting quarterback job. If he doesn’t win it (and that is a steep hill to climb), Morse is too talented not to play somewhere. The big-framed signal caller could fit anywhere in the offense, but will likely find a home at tight end or H-back, while also functioning as the backup quarterback.

4) The defensive line

In high school football, the effectiveness of a defense is very often tied to how effectively it can stop the run. Just look at the District 20-4A run defense ratings from last year.

Team    Rush Yards Allowed    Overall Def. Rank

Vidor    949    2

Nederland    1,314    1

Ozen    1,473    3

Livingston    1,739    4

Central    1,897    5

LC-M    2,301    6

PN-G    2,587    7

Lumberton    3,204    8

Injuries hurt PN-G most on its defensive line, as a few key starters never were really able to make an impact last season for the Indians along the line. If the Indians can fix that through some personnel shuffle and better luck with injuries, their defense could see a marked improvement.

To that end, the Indians are going to be shifting a few offensive linemen over to the defense to bolster the unit. That includes two-year offensive standout Chris Mangini, who will be anchoring one of the end positions this year.

5) Who’s at running back?

Only two teams in District 20-4A had less rushing yards in the regular season than Port Neches-Groves’ 1,272 yards last year. The Indians’ usual strong rushing attack never found consistency last season, causing the offense to lose a bit of its effectiveness.

That was less about the play of the offensive line, which boasted SFA signee Justin Reasons and a few other young, standout players. However, the Indians had trouble finding running backs who could exploit the holes their line opened.

That shouldn’t be an issue this year. Junior running back Brant Halfin is the favorite to be the starter at tailback, while Reece Wardlow should be in the mix at fullback, though he should have competition from Morse.

David Coleman is a sportswriter for the Port Arthur News. You can email him at or find him on Twitter at @MDavidColeman.

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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

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

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  • 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

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    There are certain limitations to fishing without a boat.

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    Thursday nights Summer Money League produced some very impressive scores.

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  • 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.

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

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From the Fieldhouse blog