Port Neches-Groves looks to hand Montgomery Bears first loss of season in Round 2

Published 12:25 am Thursday, November 18, 2021

PORT NECHES — The Port Neches-Groves Indians are coming off one of the most impressive playoff wins in school history with a 72-20 win over Galena Park.
PNG (7-4, 4-3 in district play) now advances to the area round to take on Montgomery (11-0, 6-0) at Stallworth Stadium in Baytown.

Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. Friday.

The Indians’ big win Friday broke school records for points in a playoff game and largest margin of victory in a playoff game.

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The 72 points tied the PNG record set back in 2017 when PNG defeated Crosby 72-69 at Stallworth Stadium.

Friday will be the first time the Indians have played in the second round since 2018, when they defeated Lindale 50-28.

PNG and Montgomery fell to Fort Bend Marshall last season. The Indians loss to Marshall in the first round, while Montgomery was forced out in the second.

Head Coach Brandon Faircloth said this year’s Bears team is a tough matchup.

“They are 11-0,” Faircloth said. “They haven’t lost a game all year. They are going to present a lot of challenges to us. We have to have a great week of practice. It is the playoffs. Anything can happen. We are going to go hard and see what happens.”

Faircloth said his team is focused and doesn’t anticipate being content with a big first-round win.

“It was a special night (last week),” he said. “Everyone got to play. All of the seniors got in. It was an awesome evening. But like we talked about at the team meeting, this Friday doesn’t care about last Friday night. Montgomery doesn’t care that we beat Galena Park, and we don’t care that they beat Nacogdoches. We have to win and move on. We will talk about that win later at the football banquet and later on in life.”

PNG quarterback Cole Crippen said he felt relaxed during his first playoff game.

“The defense had the offense’s back on any situation we gave them,” he said. “The offense was clicking from the very start of the game.”

He also said the team didn’t bask in the win for too long.

“You have the weekend,” he said. “Then at 6:45 a.m. on Monday, you flush last week and focus on the new challenges you have for Friday night.”

The teams played two of the same opponents this season. Both squads played Dayton and Beaumont United. For the Bears, both games were part of their non-district schedule, beating BU 23-19 and Dayton 45-20.

PNG played Beaumont United in its second game of the season and came out on top 21-17 and beat Dayton in the Indians’ second district game of the year in a 42-35 contest.