When spears and swords collide: Indians, Titans start new series with plenty on line

Published 9:41 pm Thursday, October 13, 2016

Take all the history of Thomas Jefferson and Lincoln against Port Neches-Groves out, because this one is between the 5-0 Port Arthur Memorial Titans against the 6-0 PNG Indians.

Both teams come in 4-0 in the District 22-5A standings.

“This game means a lot for the district championship,” PNG coach Brandon Faircloth said. “I think coach (Kenny) Harrison would agree with me that we are both sitting in a really good place close to the playoffs. That is our first goal every year, to get to the playoffs and then win a district championship. We have a chance to do that Friday night against a great team.”

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Harrison stopped this week and did not say this game was just another game.

“It is difficult to not look forward to a game like this with the communities next door to each other,” Harrison said. “We are both fortunate to be undefeated at this point in the season. As the season was progressing, we got stats and we saw they kept winning and we kept winning. I can honestly say I was excited for both of us being at this point.”

There will be some added drama to the game, if it needed any, because this week is Memorial’s homecoming. The decision for that, which is out of Harrison’s hands, came after the homecoming festivities had to be moved from the last week of the season, which is normally set aside for senior night.

Faircloth has a ton of respect for the Titans, who dropped down from Class 6A to Class 5A and was planted in the local district.

“They have pretty much rolled every single team they have faced so far,” Faircloth said. “We know we have our hands full. They are very fast, very talented and tough. They play very smart football, too, because they are well coached. There are not many weaknesses when you watch them on film. It is going to be a big test for us, and also playing them will make us a better football team.”

The talent on the Memorial roster is split on both offense and defense.

PNG will have to contend with an offense that boasts the fourth-ranked running back in junior Elijah Hines. He has 708 yards on 75 carries with seven touchdowns.

Memorial senior quarterback Kadon Harrison has 1,100 yards, second most in 22-5A, on 83-of-116 passing with 15 touchdowns and three interceptions.

The two teams’ passing games are eerily similar.

PNG sophomore quarterback Roshon Johnson has thrown for 1,208 yards, the most in the district, on 72-of-105 passing with 15 touchdowns and three interceptions.

Johnson is not alone in the PNG attack. Junior running back Preston Hughes has 726 yards on 89 carries with nine touchdowns.

Keynel McZeal, a Texas A&M commit, is second in the district with 25 receptions to go with 364 yards and five touchdowns. Preston Riggs has 547 yards on 24 receptions with five touchdowns.

“PNG has always done a tremendous job on the offensive side of the ball,” Harrison said. “I even remember Brennan Doty, who was an exceptional athlete for those guys a few years back. Coach Faircloth has done a great job of building that program up over there.”

It will not be just the offenses on display as both teams’ defenses are ranked in the top four in District 22-5A.

Memorial’s defense is led by LSU commit Kary Vincent Jr., who has five interceptions on the season and ran two back for touchdowns in the same quarter against Nederland.

PNG has a defense led by linebackers Cole Robinson and Logan LeJeune, who are two of the hardest hitters in the district.

“Winning would be a big step in the right direction towards winning a district championship,” Harrison said. “We still have a lot of football left and so do those guys. We take one game at a time. I told our guys again, we get one win if we beat PNG and not four.

Gabriel Pruett: 721-2436. Twitter: @PaNewsGabe



  • When: 7 p.m. Friday
  • Where: Memorial Stadium
  • Radio: KCOL-92.5 FM; KOLE-AM 1340
  • 22-5A records: Both teams are 4-0
  • Series record: First meeting

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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