‘Landsharks’ get it done

Published 1:22 am Saturday, September 10, 2016

LUMBERTON — The Port Neches-Groves Indians are in good shape if defenses really do win championships.
PNG held the Lumberton offense to seven points Friday at Raiders Stadium in the Indians’ 34-14 victory. Lumberton (1-1, 0-1 District 22-5A) scored its second touchdown of the game on a fumble recovery.
“The story of the night was our defense,” coach Brandon Faircloth said. “They held a great Lumberton offense to seven points. I think we had four or five fourth-down stops. Our defense rose to the occasion. We talk about it all the time. Third down doesn’t end it, and you are going to have to get a stop on fourth down. Defense came up big. Cole [Robinson] and Logan [LeJeune], all of them, I am so proud of them.”
Faircloth didn’t know it when he guessed the four to five stops on fourth down, but the Indians really had six in the game.
He and defensive coordinator Dustin Templin’s defense also only allowed 184 yards, 135 on the ground and 49 in the air.
“Man, Lumberton Raiders are smash-mouth football,” senior linebacker LeJeune said. “It is always fun to play these guys. I am happy with the way we played because it is an amazing feeling. We are also a smash-mouth defense. Those ‘Landsharks,’ we fly around and get our reads.”
LeJeune was referencing the PNG (3-0, 1-0) defense being nickname “Landsharks.”
Fellow senior linebacker Robinson also stood out Friday on defense. Robinson was credited for four tackles for losses, all coming in the first half.
Defense, however, was not the only story of the game for the Indians.
PNG sophomore quarterback Roschon Johnson continued his stellar play Friday night.
He rushed for four touchdowns on 21 carries for 79 yards. He threw for another touchdown and 155 yards. Johnson threw for 155 yards on 13-of-21 passing with the one touchdown and one interception.
Preston Hughes caught the touchdown pass and scored from 18 yards out with 4:49 left in the third to give the Indians a 21-14 lead. Hughes finished the night with 103 yards on 17 carries.
The Raiders had just tied the game at 14-14 with 6:59 left in the third on a touchdown run by quarterback Brett Marcentel. Marcentel finished with 37 yards on 19 carries.
PNG wasted no time getting on the board and scored on its opening series.
Johnson, two plays into the game, hit Preston Riggs for a 27-yard completion bringing the Indians down to the Lumberton 14. Riggs had another big night for the Indians with 98 yards receiving on five catches.
Johnson scored four players later on a 1-yard touchdown run to put PNG up 7-0.
PNG was not mistake-free in this game, especially in the first half.
Lumberton’s Jackson Lloyd scooped up a PNG fumble and returned it for a 39-yard touchdown to tie the game at 7-7 with 3:03 left in the first quarter.
Faircloth understands the problems can be fixed and was proud how his team responded after the mistakes.
“Our guys talk about playing the next play and having amnesia,” Faircloth said. “That is what the mantra is around PNG. That is what we preach all the time to play the next play.
“It is not always going to go your way. You can’t play the Lumberton Raiders and everything go your way. It’s just not going to happen. When it doesn’t go your way, you have to bounce back. I am proud of our guys tonight for doing that.”
Johnson later scored on runs of 11, 3 and 4 yards. He scored twice in the fourth quarter to give PNG a cushion. Lumberton only trailed 14-7 heading into the third.
The Indians get a week off next week before hosting Livingston on Sept. 23. Lumberton plays at Livingston next week.

Gabriel Pruett: 721-2436. Twitter: @PaNewsGabe

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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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