PN-G defeats Lumberton, eyes Madness
Indians 42, Raiders 25
PN-G 0 14 21 7 — 42
Lumberton 7 0 12 6 — 25
Lumberton — Tim Rhodes 4 run (Ben Eppes kick), 6:48
PN-G — Kody Cropper 20 pass from Adam Morse (Gunnar Nicholson kick), 10:33
PN-G — Caisen Sullivan 27 pass from Morse (Nicholson kick), 7:24
PN-G — Jack Giblin 39 pass from Morse (Nicholson kick), 10:44
PN-G — Sullivan 19 pass from Giblin (Nicholson kick), 8:14
Lumberton — Rhodes 39 run (Kick fail), 6:01
PN-G — Cropper 25 run (Nicholson kick), 2:59
Lumberton — Rhodes 33 run (Run fail), 0.0
PN-G — Cropper 45 run (Nicholson kick), 10:43
Lumberton — Devon Willis 15 pass from Stephen Yarbro (Kick blocked), 2:32
First downs 17 17
Rush-yards 20-179 40-192
Passing yards 209 74
Total yards 388 266
Comp-Att-Int 11-20-1 6-21-0
Fumbles-lost 2-2 2-1
Penalties-yards 7-85 6-30
RUSHING — PN-G: Cropper 14-138, Jace Runnels 4-43. Lumberton: Rhodes 33-183, Caleb Thomas 10-53
PASSING — PN-G: Morse 10-19-1 190, Giblin 1-1-0 19. Lumberton: Yarbro 6-21-0 74.
RECEIVING — PN-G: Sullivan 6-103, Giblin 3-48, Dylan McGough 3-38. Lumberton: Rhodes 2-26.
LUMBERTON — Friday was the game before the game.
Port Neches-Groves went to Lumberton Friday and took care of business to the tune of a 42-25 victory. After it was over, coach Brandon Faircloth and his Indians could start to stare down Nederland.
PN-G started Friday’s game off sluggish on offense but in the third quarter exploded for 21 points after leading 14-7 at the break.
Quarterback Adam Morse started to heat up and hit a wide-open Jack Giblin for a 39-yard touchdown to put the Indians ahead 21-7 with 10:44 left in the third.
Nick Valentine then recovered a Lumberton fumble to set PN-G up to score again.
This time Faircloth turned to a trick play to fool the Raiders.
Giblin took a toss behind the line from Morse and stopped to fire a touchdown pass to fellow receiver Caisen Sullivan for a 19-yard score.
“I loved taking some stats away from Adam,” Giblin joked. “I was just making sure I didn’t underthrow it. We worked on that play all week. I told myself to make sure to throw a spiral and hit him where you want it.”
It was a rare game for the Indians who did not score in the first quarter.
Lumberton took the opening kick and drove 66 yards in 11 plays. The bulk of the work went to star tailback Tim Rhodes. Rhodes, who finished with 183 yards on 33 carries, scored the game’s first points on a 4-yard touchdown scamper.
Morse’s first pass of the night was intercepted by Devon Willis to give the Raiders the ball right back.
The Raiders were unable to score off the turnover and PN-G answered with off a 20-yard touchdown catch by Kody Cropper from Morse to tie the game at 7-7 with 10:33 left in the half.
Cropper had only 27 rushing yards at halftime and finished with 138 yards on 14 carries and two running scores.
“Every win is tough now,” Faircloth said. “Lumberton has a really good football team. Coach [Chris] Babin has done a great job with those guys. A win is hard. Anytime you can go to someone else’s place and win a game, it’s a huge plus.”
Morse finished his night with 190 yards on 10-of-19 passing with three touchdowns and one interception.
Sullivan churned in 103 yards receiving on eight catches with two scores. His first touchdown the Raiders left him wide open in the back of the end zone and PN-G took to the lead for good at 14-7 with 7:54 left in the first half.
“We told the guys to just keep playing,” Faircloth said of his team’s slow start on offense. “We needed a case of amnesia to forget the plays and keep playing. I thought we did a good job of that. We had some adversity there in the first half and I am really proud of our guys for playing through it.”
Part of the problem in the first half was dropped passes. All three receivers, including Dylan McGough who had one catch for 38 yards, made up for it by the end of the night.
“I think we were a little overconfident to start the game,” Giblin said. “We just had to focus more.”
So with the Raiders out the way and learning the Bulldogs had defeated Beaumont Central on Friday, Giblin and Faircloth finally broke down and talked about the battle for the Bum Phillips Bowl Trophy.
“I’ve been waiting for this game for two years,” Giblin said referring to the fact he missed last year’s game against Nederland with an ankle injury. “I want to come out rocking. It makes it even more special they are undefeated in district.”
Faircloth said he expects another typical District 22-5A game when he looks across The Reservation in a week and sees the black and gold.
“It is Mid-County Madness,” Faircloth said. “We have to go have a great week of practice. They are a great team. It is going to be close and it is going to be a battle. Absolutely this week you barely get any sleep.”