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PNG ready for competitive West Orange-Stark squad; quarterback Cole Crippen debuting

PORT NECHES — The Port Neches-Groves Indians take the field today against the West Orange-Stark Mustangs.

Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.

The scrimmage will also mark the debut for PNG junior quarterback Cole Crippen.

“I’m very excited to get out there,” he said. “It feels good to have West Orange-Stark as a competitor. They are a big football school. I think playing against other teams is going to do a lot of good for us.”

Crippen led the junior varsity to an 8-2 record last year.

The quarterback said he is happy his team gets to play against the Mustangs. WOS has the highest winning percentage in Texas high school football.

“I think it will help us to play with the best,” Crippen said.

Today also marks the first time PNG’s stadium will be open to full capacity. Last year, the University Interscholastic league capped stadium attendance at 50 percent due to the pandemic.

“That will be great (to see a full house),” Crippen said. “It is good to not have any COVID restrictions anymore. It is going to be a packed stadium. I feel like it is going to be amazing to have all of our fans back out here.”

Crippen thinks his team is in game shape thanks to the Indians’ summer workout program.

On the other side of the field, WOS Head Coach Cornel Thompson said he wants his team to execute and stay healthy.

The scrimmage will simulate a game all the way through. Some programs like to have a part of the scrimmage “controlled,” which is basically a joint practice. Thompson said he prefers to go “live” all the way through.

“It is going to be a 48-minute contest just like you play on Friday night,” he said. “I don’t do that other (stuff). We aren’t going to be out there on the field with them during the game. We kickoff, but the kicks aren’t live. We field it and the drives start from the 30-yard line.”

Thompson said it will be beneficial for his team to play PNG.

“They have a lot of tradition and stuff,” he said. “They have a lot of numbers. They are well coached. You have to coach for 48 minutes. We have some weaknesses and they will show us. I know where (the weaknesses are) at, but they are going to confirm them for me.”