PNG ready to shake off MCM against pass-heavy Broncos

Published 12:10 am Friday, October 1, 2021

PORT NECHES — The Port Neches-Groves Indians are putting last week’s let down in the Bum Phillips Bowl in the past as they take a road trip to Dayton.

The Indians (2-2, 0-1 in District 12-5A Division II) battle the Broncos (1-3, 0-1) at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Bronco Stadium.

The Indians turned the ball over four times in the team’s loss to Nederland.

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Head Coach Brandon Faircloth said his team focused on protecting the football this week.

“We have done a good job at protecting the football,” he said. “It happens. It is part of sports. You go back to the board and try to see why we did it and see if we can correct it. That is what practice is for. Every game, you learn something about yourself. I think we are going to respond the right way.”

Quarterback Cole Crippen wants to forget about last week, but is using lessons learned from the loss.

“You have to secure the ball,” he said. “I am working a lot on being smart and secure with the ball.”

Faircloth gives his team a designated amount of time to focus on a win or a loss.

“That is every game,” he said. “We give them 24 hours. You can celebrate for 24 hours or you can be depressed for 24 hours. In coaching in general, that is how it goes. You are going to win some and lose some. Give yourself 24 hours to be in whatever mood you want to be in and then move on.”

Faircloth told his team they have six game still on the schedule.

“We still have a long season ahead of us,” he said. “I am really proud of our focus this week. You can win and not handle it right and you can lose and not handle it right. We are trying to handle it well, move on and control what we can control.”

Faircloth can point to Nederland last year or his team in 2010 that lost Mid County Madness games before going three rounds deep into the playoffs.

Dayton enters the game with the district’s top passing attack. The Broncos are coming in off a 52-25 loss to Crosby.

Their lone win of the season is a 45-7 victory over Goose Creek Memorial.

Broncos quarterback Blayne Denton averages 253 passing yards a game and has totaled 10 touchdowns with eight picks on the season.

While the Broncos feature the top passing attack, they are second to last in rushing yards. In contrast, PNG has the district’s top rusher in Koby Trahan.

Weather could be a determining factor as early forecasts call for high chances of rain across the area Friday.

Faircloth said Dayton would likely keep the ball in the air, which means his team will have to take advantage of potential turnovers.

“We have to get to the football,” he said.