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Indians take chance at first crown since 2009

PORT NECHES — All the Port Neches-Groves Indians wanted was another chance at the title.

The Indians got their shot at the District 22-5A championship last Friday when they defeated Beaumont Central and the Goose Creek Memorial Patriots took down the Nederland Bulldogs.

If the Indians and Bulldogs both win tonight, the two teams share the league crown. If either loses and the other wins, the winning team takes home the championship outright.

PN-G (7-2, 5-1) hits the road tonight to take on Vidor (3-6, 2-4) while Nederland (6-3, 5-1) plays its regular season finale against Lumberton (7-2, 4-2).

“The playoffs start this week,” PN-G coach Brandon Faircloth said. “Every week we are playing for a championship. This week we are playing for a district championship and then next week we play for a bi-district championship and the week after hopefully an area championship. That is how we have approached it.”

First things first: the Indians are going to try and tackle the Pirates. Vidor leads the district in offense this year with 466.3 yards per game, including 441.5 rushing yards a contest.

It sounds like a daunting task for the Indians but one of the best kept secrets in the area is the fact they are the 22-5A leaders in total defense, allowing just 262.3 yards per game.

Yes, the unit slugged “The Landsharks” can get the job done for the Indians, and Faircloth is going to call on Dustin Templin to dial up another game plan to stop a potent offense.

The defense did its job last week against Beaumont Central, giving up only 187 total yards.

“Vidor still has a good team,” Faircloth said. “We have our work cut out for us. Vidor has a big offensive line and they are experts at that offense. People travel to Vidor to learn that offense. You don’t get two 1,000-yard running backs by accident.”

Vidor’s Haylon Leckelt is second in 22-5A with 1,380 yards and 10 touchdowns while Blake Rowe comes in with 1,011 yards and 13 touchdowns.

“Our defensive effort last week speaks for itself,” Faircloth said. “I couldn’t be more proud of Coach Templin and our defense. They have really been our rock force all year. Our defense has been solid and we have to continue that this week.”

Faircloth was so impressed with last week’s defensive performance, he gave it a pretty big praise.

“That was one of the top defensive performances since I have been here,” Faircloth said. “We have had some good ones but that definitely was top two or three, especially who it was against. It was a once-in-a-lifetime game.”

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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