Mustangs win, but Johnson, Riggs connect

Published 11:13 pm Friday, August 18, 2017

By Chris Moore
Special to The News

PORT NECHES — Port Neches-Groves got a taste of football under the lights, as they hosted West Orange-Stark for their first scrimmage at Indian Stadium on Friday.

The reigning 4A Division II champion Mustangs came out on top 17-14 after a late, fourth quarter field goal.

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WOS came out swinging on the opening drive of the game, led by quarterback Chaka Watson, who finished the game 7-of-15 for 53 yards with one score. The first-year starter completed his first four passes for 39 yards. The drive seemed to stall inside the Indians’ 10 before Watson threw a 6-yard touchdown pass on third down.

PNG quarterback Roschon Johnson, who recently verbally committed to Texas, had a slow start missing on 6 out of his first 7 pass attempts. With 6:18 remaining in the second quarter, Johnson threw a 60-yard bomb to senior Preston Riggs, who finished the game with four receptions for 152 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

Indian head coach Brandon Faircloth credited Johnson and Riggs chemistry to their hard work in the offseason.

“Roschon and Preston work really hard at timing in the offseason, he said. “Hard work pays off and Preston is a very explosive receiver. Roschon also does a good job of finding him.”

On the first play of the second half the duo connected again for 70-yard connection. This time, Riggs caught short slant and out ran the defense for the rest of the way.

“Preston is a tremendous receiver,” Johnson said. “He has raw ability and talent. It’s not really that hard. I just have to put it in his hands and he’ll do the rest.”

Mustang running back Kavyn Cooper, who compiled 108 yards on seven carries, quickly responded with a one-play, 66-yard touchdown.

Faircloth said his team was happy to get to hit someone else for a change and the defending champs were a good measuring stick.

“(WOS) is going to have big plays,” he said. “They are an explosive football team. I thought our defense did a great job of responding. Offensively, we got some good drives together, which was really nice to see.”

Johnson, who finished with 172 yards and two touchdowns, said that he wants to work on his consistency.

“I felt like (the scrimmage) was OK,” he said. “I have a lot of stuff to work on. That’s the good part about scrimmages. You get to see what your weakness is and work on them throughout the week. I felt like I was kind of off and on. I haven’t been able to get into a good rhythm, yet. That’s a good defense over there. I’m not taking anything away from them. I just can’t force certain passes.”

Faircloth said he is pleased with the Indians’ performance despite being outscored.

“We had a great effort,” he said. “We played a bunch of young guys tonight, which is good to get them in the action and see what they can do. Like any coach is going to tell you, we have a long way to go. We got to have a great week of practice before we scrimmage West Brook, Friday night.”

PNG hosts West Brook for a scrimmage next Friday, at Indian Stadium. Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m.

The Mustangs travel to Vidor to face the Pirates in scrimmage Thursday. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Pirates Stadium.