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FOOTBALL: Indians put on game faces

Silsbee at PNG

Prep football; 7:30 p.m. Friday at The Reservation; Look-ins at Fox Sports Southwest/KCOL-FM 92.5

Cooper Hammond of PNG tries to spin away from a West Brook tackler last Thursday. (Brian Vincent/Special to The News)

PORT NECHES — During practice Thursday, coaches could be heard telling the players a familiar sports phrase.

“Game face — get your game face on,” a coach was telling the players as they began warmups.

After weeks of two-a-days and scrimmages, the Port Neches-Groves Indians will finally put pads on against an opponent with stakes attached as they take on the Silsbee Tigers in a non-district matchup Friday.

“We’re very excited,” PNG head coach Brandon Faircloth said. “We had really good two-a-days and two really tough scrimmages. We have a really tough opponent in Silsbee. They’re a really well coached, physical football team. Non-district games are about getting better. Silsbee is going to show us our weaknesses. We definitely have our hands full.”

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Faircloth said Silsbee’s offense is explosive and can present a problem.

“They’re really good on offense,” he said. “They scored a lot of points last year. On defense, they are sound. They have a lot of team speed. They have some good athletes over there. They’re fast and physical. They are everything you want a team to be.”

One matchup to keep an eye on might be the PNG secondary against the speed of Silsbee’s skill positions. During a scrimmage with West Brook, the Indians gave up 203 passing yards in two quarters, with 160 of those yards coming on three plays.

Starting senior free safety Tyler Jackson will be available after missing that scrimmage with an injury.

“Everyone is a little dinged up right now,” Faircloth said. “We’re doing fine. We have some kids that won’t play tomorrow night that will play later on in the season. We have some guys that just got back that didn’t scrimmage that will play against Silsbee like Tyler and we had an offensive lineman that didn’t play last week that will play a lot Friday.”

Faircloth said his team is ready to play a game with consequences in front of the PNG faithful.

“I think they are ready to play a game out here at The Reservation,” he said. “They want to be in front of the fans, the band and the drill team. We have such a great atmosphere on Friday nights.”

Getting the players back in a routine has helped them stay focused, Faircloth said.

“During two-a-days and scrimmages, it’s kind of tough to stay on schedule. Now we’ve started school and started a routine, and I think all of the guys are excited.

“They’re going to be tough on us, but that’s what we want,” he said. “We want a tough game. They’re going to give it to us and we have to be our best (Friday) night.”

Kick off is set for 7:30 at The Reservation.

Chris Moore: 721-2427. Twitter: @Chris_Moore09