Riggs turns into big-play target

Published 11:43 pm Tuesday, October 18, 2016

PORT NECHES — Preston Riggs was not going to let Port Neches-Groves go away very easily from Port Arthur Memorial on Friday.

“My key wish was keep getting first downs,” said Riggs, the Indians’ junior wide receiver. “We had to push the ball down the field. We needed some touchdowns.”

The big 1-on-1 matchup in the game was PNG wideout and Texas A&M commit Keynel McZeal going against Memorial standout cornerback and LSU commit Kary Vincent Jr. Yet, it was Riggs who came up with big catch after big catch in nearly bringing the Indians all the way back from a 19-point deficit.

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Of Riggs’ four catches for 107 yards, two of them went for more than 40 yards (with a long of 43 yards). Quarterback Roschon Johnson ran for all three of the Indians’ offensive touchdowns, but Riggs made the big catches to sustain drives against a stellar Titans defense.

“He’s very consistent,” PNG coach Brandon Faircloth said. “He’s always been a great player. Runs great routes, has great hands and he’s very consistent. He jumped right in as a starter from the first day and has been consistent.”

So much so, Riggs is the second-leading receiver in District 22-5A with 654 yards on 28 catches and five touchdowns.

Friday was no breakout game for the 6-foot-1 Riggs, just an example of big-game ability. He torched Baytown Lee’s defense for 151 yards on five receptions, totaled 115 yards on six catches in the season opener against traditional 4A power Silsbee, 98 yards on five hauls at Lumberton (with another long of 43) and four catches for 62 yards at home against Livingston.

“I think I have [made an impact],” Riggs said. “I’ve been trying really hard all season to help my team as much as I possibly can.”

Faircloth said Riggs improved in his route running this season.

“As a receiver, you grow up and you’re really worried about catching the football,” he said. “He can definitely do that. He’s come a long way in his route running and learning how to get open.”

Plus, Riggs has had some Division-I talent on his own team who have helped him as a wideout, including current UTSA freshman Jack Giblin, Lamar freshman Caisen Sullivan and McZeal.

“I look up to those guys,” Riggs said. “They’re great players. Keynel, he’s a really good guy. I just learned a lot from them.”

There’s more to Riggs than just his excellence as a receiver. He has made 33 extra points and converted a field goal for the Indians, leading 22-5A in points among kickers. 

He’s an all-district forward on the PNG soccer team and runs track, just as his mother did. Tammy Wright Riggs was a standout 100-meter hurdler for the Indians.

“He’s a really good player at everything he does,” Faircloth said. “He’s been a good athlete since he was in Groves.”

I.C. Murrell: 721-2435. Twitter: @ICMurrellPANews

About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

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