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Defensive gem: PNG’s Dustin Templin dials up successful plan when needed most

PORT NECHES — If trailing Vidor 10-0 early in the second half wasn’t enough hardship for Port Neches-Groves to overcome, Mother Nature brought more Friday night in the form of lightning in Vidor.

The game had already been delayed by 42 minutes due to lightning and would be put on hold an additional 1 hour, 45 minutes with just 30 game seconds remaining before halftime — what little of it would be taken. Senior defensive end Josh Patteson had a message for his team:

“Stay focused, keep your minds straight and don’t listen to what is going on in the crowd and all of that,” he reminded the Indians.

Point taken.

Greater than the fact that PNG overcame the deficit to win 18-10 was that the Indians (4-1, 2-0 in District 12-5A Division II) held the most explosive offense in the district to 195 total yards, well below its average of 442.3 yards per game at the time.

PNG had been giving up 374 per game going into Friday.

“I wish I could break it down to a science,” defensive coordinator Dustin Templin said. “It’s all about the kids. They did a great job staying focused. They had a great week of practice. They did a great job reading their keys and having eye discipline. That’s one thing we stress Vidor week with all their misdirection. They took it to heart that Vidor was going to challenge them and their toughness, and they were up to the challenge.

“They stayed focused and stayed hungry and didn’t let it faze them at all. I was proud of them.”

It’s one of countless defensive gems Templin has dialed up with the Indians. Against Huntsville in the second half of a Week 2 game, PNG shut out a team that had scored 27 points in the first 24 minutes and held the state-ranked Hornets to 28 yards.

PNG still fell, 27-10, but gained momentum from that strong half to post three straight victories, Mother Nature notwithstanding.

“That’s the thing about high school football,” Templin said. “You can face a Slot team one week, and then you can face a Spread team the next week, and the next week, you’re going to face the Flexbone. You’ve just got to be ready for everything every week.”

Up next for the Indians is Crosby (1-3, 1-1), a team the Indians have slightly outscored 120-114 the past two seasons despite last season’s win having to be forfeited for an illegal recording device inside the coaches’ box.

“We’re excited,” Patteson said. “We’ve got a great game plan to keep the score low. That way, our offense can go do their thing.”

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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