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Indians start 22-5A slate vs. Ganders

PORT NECHES-GROVES-BAYTOWN LEE MATCHUP

Offense

  • PN-G: 479.7 ypg (186.6 rushing, 293 passing); leaders, Adam Morse (senior quarterback, 879 yards on 67-of-102 passing with nine touchdowns and two interceptions) and Jack Giblin (senior receiver, 258 yards on 19 catches and three touchdowns)
  • Lee: 371.0 ypg (172.6 rushing, 198.3 passing); leaders, Javarius Irving (senior quarterback, 575 yards on 49-of-85 passing with six touchdowns and two interceptions and 318 yards on 44 carries with three touchdowns) and Javier Estrada (junior receiver, 153 yards on 16 catches with no touchdowns)

Defense

  • PN-G: 206.7 ypg allowed (107.0 rushing, 99.6 passing)
  • Lee: 332.7 ypg allowed (214.6 rushing, 118 passing)

Sound bytes

  • PN-G coach Brandon Faircloth: “Adam (Morse) has looked incredible. He is doing a good job this year of having fun. He is relaxed. We have to complete passes. He did a great job of that last week. It is great having two running backs like we have this year in Kody Cropper and Jace Runnels. The key to that is the offensive line. We have three new starters there so it takes a little time for those guys to gel. They are starting to play better together. They work hard and are a good group. Our defense has played really well this year. Chapel Hill had the ball inside the 15 twice and we came away with two turnovers.”
  • Lee coach David Wilkinson: “PN-G is a very systematic football team. They all do their job and the team is just very polished. It is the old cliché but we cannot stop the quarterback, we are going to try to contain him. He is very talented and gets the ball out of his hand very quick so it is hard to get any pressure on him. Our best defense is going to be holding the ball for as long as we can. We have to learn how to finish games. We are a much-improved football team but when something goes wrong we get that ‘here we go again’ mentality. Our kids need to understand we aren’t that same team. I wish I knew how to clear out that mindset. I’d pay half my salary for the answer. Last year was the first year I coached a game at PN-G. I think we had under a 100 fans and they had about 9,000 to 10,000 on their side. That was awesome. I am sure they are going to bring their fans and the support even on a Thursday night. PN-G does it like it should be done. That is huge and it is cool to see. I appreciate what they do and it is fun to play against a team and fan base that does it right.”

PORT NECHES — Now it counts.
That is the theme for the Port Neches-Groves Indians handed down by coach Brandon Faircloth.
Yes, the Indians march into Stallworth Stadium at 7 p.m. to face the Baytown Lee Ganders with a 2-1 record yet it does not matter in the long run.
What the Indians do for the next seven games is what will define the 2015 season.
“Non-district games don’t mean anything,” Faircloth said. “Week to week, everything changes. This is a brand new season for all of us. Baytown Lee is a very capable football team. It is proven every week that if you don’t play well anyone can beat anyone.
“This is the season. What we say around here is those three games matter but don’t count. The district games matter and they count. We are ready for them to county. We have high expectations and we have to go out and improve every day. It is a dogfight every game from here on out.”
The Indians start the district schedule without two of their best players. Linebacker Trey Rembert and receiver Keynel McZeal both left last week’s victory over Chapel Hill with injuries that will keep them out for at least a couple weeks.
Rembert has a knee injury while McZeal is nursing an injured wrist.
“Those injuries are unfortunate,” Faircloth said. “We don’t know how long they will be out. As a team, we cannot replace Keynel McZeal and we can’t replace Trey Rembert. As a group, we have to overcome that together. That is life and that is adversity. We have to find the guys who can step up and play and that is what we are going to do.”
Tonight the Indians face maybe the best duel-threat quarterback in District 22-5A in Lee’s Javarius Irving. Irving has offers from Stephen F. Austin University and McNeese State University.
Irving has rushed for 318 yards on 44 carries with three scores and has 575 yards passing on 49-of-85 passing with six touchdowns and two interceptions.
“He (Irving) is very athletic,” Faircloth said. “They snap it to him every down so our defense is going to have to do a good job of getting to him and tackling him befcause he can run really well.”
Irving’s favorite receiver has become sophomore Victor Clark. Clark has all six of Irving’s touchdowns through the air and has 303 yards on 17 catches.
“You have to cover him and maybe with a couple guys,” Faircloth added. “He is a good player. They get him the ball. We have our work cut out for us with him.”
Faircloth said he was pleased with his team’s effort against Chapel Hill considering the Indians did not play an opponent the previous week.
“I was proud of our kids for not showing any rust,” Faircloth said. “Every year after a bye week is different. You never know how they will respond. We have a bunch of seniors so they responded the right way. I was really proud of how we started the game. We got the ball and went down and scored.”

About Gabriel Pruett

Gabriel Pruett has worked with both the Port Arthur News and Orange Leader since 2000. A majority of the time has been spent covering all aspects of Southeast Texas high school sports. Pruett's claim to fame is...being able to write his own biographical information for this website.

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