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FOOTBALL: Homecoming kings: Purple Indians find more weapons in rout of green Indians

PNG 47, Santa Fe 19

Port Neches-Groves’ Cade Billeaud (10) makes a short reception past Santa Fe’s Aiden Gomez (11) during the first quarter Friday at the Reservation. (Brian Vincent/Special to The News)

Port Neches-Groves’ Jose Ceja (21) is brought down by Santa Fe’s Kolby McMains (30) after a second-quarter reception Friday at The Reservation. (Brian Vincent/Special to The News)

Port Neches-Groves’ DaeDae Conner (41) speeds through the Santa Fe defense for a 67-yard touchdown run at the end of the first quarter Friday at The Reservation. (Brian Vincent/Special to The News)

PNG receiver Kaleb Wuenschel looks upfield on a reception against Santa Fe on Friday. (Brian Vincent/Special to The News)

Editor’s note: Name corrected from print version.

PORT NECHES — No. 41’s name was not in Port Neches-Groves’ roster. He broke free for a 67-yard touchdown run, anyway.

With that play, DaeDae Conner made his name known.

“When I had seen an open field, once I got past that line, the outside was going to help,” he said. “From there, I had seen that touchdown run right there.”

The sophomore’s only carry of the first half highlighted a 376-yard first half for the purple Indians, who took a 47-19 win over Santa Fe on Friday night.

Conner played just his second varsity game Friday night backing up senior Jaylan Williams as junior Gavin Deslatte nursed a knee injury sustained two weeks ago at Crosby.

“I always told the coaches I want to be on there. I wanted to be on varsity, and that was my goal,” Conner said.

PNG senior Roschon Johnson threw for four touchdowns and rushed for another. He completed 17 of 30 passes for 253 yards with two interceptions, with senior Tyler Pippin hauling in three passes for 54 yards and two scores. Johnson extended his PNG record for career passing yards to 6,790 yards.

But PNG coach Brandon Faircloth gave first credit to the defense, which held Santa Fe t0 195 total yards, just more than half of what the green-and-white Indians averaged going into Friday.

“They played outstanding, only gave up seven points,” Faircloth said. “Proud of our offense and the points we scored, but man, our defense really set the tone tonight.”

Conner’s long carry opened up what was a 14-13 lead for the home Indians (6-2, 5-0 in 12-5A-II). Santa Fe (4-4, 3-2) led once, 13-7, after linebacker Michael Moore picked off Johnson and returned it 18 yards for a score. Just one play earlier, Kade Martin made an interception that gave the home Indians good field position.

Johnson threw another pick-six early in the second half, this time to safety Landon Thompson, who took it back 30 yards.

PNG also had a defensive touchdown in the second quarter. John Nichols strip-sacked Nathan Kruger for a 7-yard loss from the Santa Fe 25, and David Minter recovered the ball in the end zone.

Cade Billeaud took in a 12-yard TD pass from Johnson in the fourth period.

Kruger finished the game 12 for 32 for 120 yards. Austin Lamb, the district’s only 1,000-yard receiver on the season going into Friday, had seven catches for 59 yards.

“They’ve got some really good receivers,” Faircloth said of Santa Fe. “Our DBs (defensive backs) did a great job. We got some pressure on them, and that made a difference.”

PNG’s Jose Ceja became the second 1,000-yard receiver in 12-5A-II with six catches for 91 yards. He has 1,084 yards on the year.



Johnson completed a 43-yard pass to Kaleb Wuenschel down to Santa Fe’s 29-yard line, with the visiting Indians leading 13-7. The next play, Johnson took it into the end zone.

Nichols had blocked the extra point on Santa Fe’s previous touchdown, so Mario Oceguera’s point-after gave PNG its second lead.



Pippin for his touchdown catches of 33 and 9 yards, and Nichols for his strip-sack and extra-point block.

“We had a man out, and the coaches told me I had to step up at that position,” Pippin said. “When he told me that, that just lit a fire under me that I was needed by this team.”



PNG will visit Barbers Hill next Friday, with the Nov. 9 Bum Phillips Bowl against Nederland at home remaining.

Santa Fe will visit Dayton next Friday, with Barbers Hill at home Nov. 9.

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


PNG 47, Santa Fe 19

Santa Fe         13       0          6          0          —        19

PNG                21       20       0          6          —        47

First quarter

PNG — Tyler Pippin 33 pass from Roschon Johnson (Mario Oceguera kick), 6:48

Santa Fe — Bryce Montemayor 3 run (Daniel Munoz kick), 5:06

Santa Fe — Michael Moore 18 interception return (kick blocked), 3:37

PNG — Johnson 29 run (Oceguera kick), 2:54

PNG — DaeDae Conner 67 run (Oceguera kick), 0:12

Second quarter

PNG — Pippin 9 pass from Johnson (Oceguera kick), 3:46

PNG — David Minter fumble recovery in end zone (Oceguera kick), 3:36

PNG — Ceja 11 pass from Johnson (kick failed), 0:34

Third quarter

Santa Fe — Lance Thompson 30 interception return (run failed), 8:05

Fourth quarter

PNG — Cade Billeaud 12 pass from Johnson (kick failed), 11:41


                                   SF                  PNG

First downs                9                      18

Rushes-yards             24-75             34-199

Passing yards             120                 253

Total yards                 195                 452

Comp-Att-Int             12-32-1          17-30-2

Fumbles-lost              0-0                  1-1

Penalties-yards         4-38                7-60


Individual statistics

RUSHING — Santa Fe: Montemayor 13-53, Kruger 8-16, Alex Trevino 1-4, Lamb 1-2, Moore 1-0. PNG: Johnson 20-120, DaeDae Conner 3-63, Jaylan Williams 11-16.

PASSING — Santa Fe: Kruger 12-32-1, 120. PNG: Johnson 17-30-2, 253.

RECEIVING — Santa Fe: Lamb 7-59, Justin Ballard 3-47, Jacob Smircic 1-9, Nate Hays 1-5. PNG: Ceja 6-91, Kaleb Wuenschel 3-68, Tyler Pippin 3-54, Billeaud 3-23, Brady Nail 1-11, Peyton Proenza 1-6.

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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