Indians know this: Tigers are tough

Published 12:22 am Friday, August 26, 2016

PORT NECHES — This is the moment the Port Neches-Groves Indians have waited on since last December.

PNG gets back on the field at 7 tonight at The Reservation to face the Silsbee Tigers.

“We have had two really, really tough scrimmages with two great teams,” PNG coach Brandon Faircloth said in reference to scrimmages against 2015 Class 4A Division II champion West Orange-Stark and Class 6A’s West Brook. “We wanted to follow that with a really tough game, apparently, because we scheduled Silsbee. We want to play tough people to get us ready for district, and sometimes that is tough to go through.”

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Faircloth knows a lot about, and at the same time knows very little, about Silsbee this year.

The reason being is that Randy Smith is a first-year head coach. He was hired on March 9 to replace Bobby McGallion, who coached the Tigers for 18 years.

Smith was most recently the offensive coordinator at Cypress Ranch. Cy Ranch averaged 35.2 points under Smith and was a 6A Division I state finalist in 2014 to Allen, 47-16.

Silsbee is coming off an 11-3, 2015 season and reached the 4A D-I quarterfinals.

“They have a huge offensive line and very talented skill kids,” Faircloth said. “They are going to be tough to beat. The only way to get better is to play tough teams. It is not the easiest thing to go through sometimes, but growing and getting better is not always easy. Silsbee is going to show us again where we need to improve. They have a big, physical defense. It is going to be a good football game. Two good teams going at it.”

Faircloth admitted he does not know a whole lot about Smith and the schemes he puts on a field. He has seen what the Tigers have done in scrimmages against Lumberton and Ozen.

“We don’t know much about them,” Faircloth said. “There is definitely more stuff out on us than them. I know he did a great job at Cy Ranch. They are a talented team and Silsbee will have an amazing season this year.”

There is one Silsbee player Faircloth and the Indians know a lot about, and that is Ozen transfer Calvin Tyler Jr.

Tyler led District 22-5A in rushing last year with 1,809 yards and also had a league-high 24 touchdowns. He rushed for 88 yards on 25 carries against PNG last year with one touchdown. PNG defeated Ozen 36-13.

He holds 13 college offers according to, including ones from Lamar, California, Illinois, Southeastern Louisiana and Fresno State.

Tyler left Ozen for Silsbee late last school year. He said on Twitter on Thursday he will announce his decision where he will commit for college at 2 p.m. today. Tyler said on Twitter the top four are Cal, Illinois, Fresno State and Louisiana Tech.

“I’d rather face him in a non-district game, I can tell you that,” Faircloth said. “When he moved to Silsbee, that was my first thought. Calvin is a great player. He was co-MVP of our district last year with (former PNG quarterback and Lamar freshman) Adam Morse if that tells you anything. He had a great year at Ozen last year. It is good to go against him. I don’t know if you stop him but you try to contain him. It is going to be tough. He will make us better.”

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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