District starts early for Indians, Raiders

Published 5:56 pm Thursday, September 8, 2016

PORT NECHES — The District 22-5A schedule is already here and it is only Week 3.

That means the Port Neches-Groves Indians are headed tonight for a game in Lumberton against the Raiders.

“In our first few games we were challenged in some different ways,” Faircloth said. “We played a good Silsbee team and played a good Goose Creek Memorial team. Obviously we like the results of the two games, but we definitely are not where we need to be. I wish we had more time.”

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District 22-5A teams could only schedule two non-district games this year since the league is comprised of nine teams. This means all the teams had to get prepared for the district race even earlier in 2016.

“I wish we had a few more weeks before it all started to count,” Faircloth added. “But, everyone else is in the same boat we are. We have to jump into it and get all our mistakes fixed, because it counts this Friday night.”

Lumberton is not quite in the same boat as the other eight teams in District 22-5A. The Raiders’ first game of the season against New Caney Porter was cancelled due to bad weather. Lumberton defeated Hamshire-Fannett 59-9 last week.

“That is the boat we are in,” Lumberton coach Chris Babin said. “It is not something we have dwelled in with the players this week. We learned a lot about our teams in our practices, but games are so much more valuable.”

Babin also explained he did not get a full game out of his starters against HF since the score was 35-0 Raiders at the half.

Lumberton rushed for 351 yards on 39 carries against HF. Quarterback Brett Marcentell led the Raiders with 166 yards on 14 carries with three touchdowns.

Dave Campbell’s Texas High School Football magazine has Lumberton with four returning starters back on offense. Babin said his defense has 10 starters back from last year’s playoff squad.

“It has been a fast and furious couple of weeks for this coaching staff,” Babin said.

Faircloth knows his Indians will have to put together a good game tonight if the Indians want to start the district race with a 1-0 record.

“Lumberton plays good football,” Faircloth said. “They have a good plan and their kids believe in the system. Coach Babin has them playing with confidence and they never get too flustered if something goes bad. They are always consistent.

The Indians were able to get in both non-district games and PNG picked up wins over Silsbee and Goose Creek.

PNG has ridden the legs of junior running back Preston Hughes, who leads the district with 321 yards on 31 carries. Hughes has scored five touchdowns. The second-place rusher in the district, Vidor’s Maverick Quirante, has 280 yards.

The Indians’ offense has put up a league high 485.5 yards per game.

“PNG has a lot of tradition, and that comes from bought-in kids,” Babin said. “That is what I see on film. I see a very quality football team.”

Lumberton must also find a way to slow down PNG sophomore Roschon Johnson. Johnson has thrown for 307 yards on 20-of-30 passing with three touchdowns and two interceptions. Johnson has gained 153 yards on the ground with four rushing touchdowns on 15 attempts.


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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