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Pep rally gets PNG “fired up” for football; West Brook scrimmage looms

Port Neches-Groves students got into the school spirit during the annual Fire-It-Up pep rally Thursday night. Students, faculty and fans met at the Port Neches-Groves stadium to celebrate the upcoming football season.

Students gather as the Port Neches-Groves High School letter initials are set ablaze at the conclusion of the annual Fire-It-Up Pep Rally on Thursday at Indian Stadium in Port Neches. (Emily Smith/NDN Press)

“It’s always an exciting event,” head coach Brandon Faircloth said. “We had all of the different things with the band and cheerleaders and twirlers. It was everyone getting involved. It’s been a long time coming. It has been a long three months of work for the football team.”

PNG was the only school district in the area to not offer virtual learning to all of the students during the coronavirus pandemic. While Nederland began in-person learning Monday and Port Arthur will offer in-person learning in two weeks, Faircloth said having students on campus helped the team feel some sort of normalcy.

Faircloth addressed those in attendance by thanking them for their continued support.

“We’re all going to have to make some adjustments this year,” he said. “Our honor, pride and tradition is never going to change. With all of the adjustments, nothing is going to change around here. We all have some work to do around here to make sure we stay safe and can play a season.”

Faircloth said the pep rally was the start of a dream come true for some of the underclassmen.

“They were excited,” he said. “You grow up wanting to be part of that pep rally. It’s one of those deals. To be apart of it, they were fired up. As excited as they were, they know they have to come out and still practice hard.”

PNG will face off against the West Brook Bruins in a Thursday scrimmage.

This will mark the third straight year the two teams have squared off in a practice game.

“We’re extremely excited,” Faircloth said. “West Brook is a wonderful team and they are going to prepare us for our season. They are a great team and Coach (Eric) Peevy does a great job. We leave there playing at a lot higher level then when we show up. We’ve been practicing without helmets and shoulder pads for three months, so it will be nice to put everything on and get a chance to get better.”