Lions’ passing game to test Indians

Published 5:49 pm Thursday, September 22, 2016

PORT NECHES — The Livingston Lions can throw the football around the field.

Port Neches-Groves Indians defensive coordinator Dustin Templin knows it. He just hasn’t gone crazy drilling it into his players’ heads this week.


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The Indians defense sees a good passing team every day in practice. Guys like Austin Bost, Cameron Stansbury and Cameron Wommack have the luxury of covering PNG receivers Keynel McZeal, Preston Riggs and Dylan McGough in 7-on-7 drills.

“We practice every day against our offense who throws a lot and throws it well,” Templin said. “That is what helps us prepare. It has been that way since I got here. That gives us the best look that we can get throughout the week and we are always ready for it.”

Livingston senior quarterback Cameron Merchant leads District 22-5A in several categories. He has thrown for 720 yards on 36-of-85 passing with interceptions and seven touchdowns.

His favorite target is obvious, junior Christian Mitchell. He leads the district with 624 receiving yards on 21 receptions with eight touchdowns.

“The Lions are explosive,” Templin said. “The Mitchell kid is a great receiver. He runs great routes and is very fast. He has made some big time catches. The quarterback can throw the ball a mile.”

Coach Brandon Faircloth said he has been impressed with the level of play he has seen from Livingston so far this year.

“They are playing with confidence,” Faircloth added. “They throw the ball really well. They have a good team and coach [Brian] Broussard is doing a good job over there. We have a tough challenge on our hands.”

Livingston is coming off a surprising 32-28 victory over Lumberton. The last time the Indians were on the field, PNG defeated Lumberton 34-14 two weeks ago before having a bye last Friday.

“We had three great practices last week,” Faircloth said. “We got to slow things down and do some teaching. We worked on some of our mistakes from the first three games. It was a great opportunity to get better. We worked on blocking and tackling and ball security. Those are the things you win football games with. We ran a bunch to get in better shape. It was a good week.”

PNG’s offense has not been bad itself this year, putting up 421.3 yards per game.

Sophomore quarterback Roschon Johnson has shined through three games with 474 yards on 33-of-51 passing with four touchdowns and three interceptions.

PNG has a duo of receivers with 13 receptions a piece in Texas A&M commit Keynel McZeal and Preston Riggs. Riggs has 283 yards and a touchdown while McZeal has 134 yards.

“The Lumberton game was really physical,” Faircloth said. “We got some bumps and bruises healed up last week on the bye week. Now we are seven in a row. We have to play seven in a row and try to be one of those top four teams in the end.”

Gabriel Pruett:721-2436. Twitter: @PaNewsGabe

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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