Port Neches-Groves ends Montgomery’s perfect season in stunner at Stallworth Stadium

Published 11:16 pm Friday, November 19, 2021

BAYTOWN – Junior Cole Crippen paced the Port Neches-Groves offense with four touchdowns, leading the Indians to a 49-42 win over previously unbeaten Montgomery in the Region III Class 5A-Divisiton II Area Round of the playoffs Friday night at Stallworth Stadium.

PNG improved to 8-4. The Indians will face Texas High in Round 3 on Friday (Nov. 26) in the regional playoff matchup. Kickoff is at 6 p.m. at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana.

the winner of the Texas HS vs. Texas City game next weekend in the Region III Class 5A-Division II semifinals.

“So proud of our players. I’m at a loss for words. What a great game,” said PNG coach Brandon Faircloth. “Our offense hung in there and kept scoring. Our defense finally got a turnover there at the end. It was a great team win and proud to be moving on.”

PNG quarterback Cole Crippen moves out of the pocket. (Chris Moore/The News)

Crippen completed 24 of 29 passes for 344 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed for 39 yards on seven carries and another touchdown.

Koby Trahan had 149 yards rushing on 24 carries. Chance Prosperie caught eight passes for 154 yards, and Landon Guarnere had seven catches for 105 yards.

The Indians rushed for 239 yards and amassed 583 yards of total offense.

“Our offensive line and Cole (Crippen) did an unbelievable job,” said Faircloth. “Cole is a great player, and I’m really proud of the way he played tonight. The offensive line protected him, and the receivers continued to make play after play. Koby (Trahan) had a couple of great runs. We’re clicking on all cylinders.”

Trailing 28-14, Montgomery received the second half kickoff and marched down the field for a score. Brock Bolfing hit Justin Herman for a 17-yard touchdown to make the score 28-21 Indians.

PNG answered right back with a quick three-play drive. Koby Trahan scored on a 54-yard touchdown run to push the lead back to 14 points at 35-21 with 7:51 left in the third quarter.

The Bears needed all of one play and 11 seconds to respond as Jalen Washington raced up the middle for a 75-yard touchdown run on the very next play from scrimmage. That made the score 35-28.

Receiver Chance Prosperie eludes multiple defenders on his way to the end zone. (Chris Moore/The News)

After forcing PNG to punt for the first time in the game, Montgomery put together a five-play scoring drive. Washington scored on a 67-yard run to tie the game at 35-35 with 3:35 left in the third quarter.

The Indians reclaimed the lead on their ensuing drive. Crippen completed a 42-yard pass to Guarnere down the right sideline to the Bears 22. Crippen hit Prosperie for a 10-yard scoring strike in the back of the end zone to give PNG the lead at 42-35 with 1:22 left in the third quarter.

The see-saw affair continued as Montgomery responded with a game-tying scoring drive. Bolfing completed passes to Jaden Williams for 18 yards and Justin Herman for 12 yards to put the ball at the PNG 19. Washington scored four plays later on a 3-yard TD run to tie the game at 42-42 with 10:23 left in the fourth quarter.

As it did all game long, PNG responded with a scoring drive to reclaim the lead. The big play was Crippen’s 43-yard completion to Prosperie to give the Indians first-and-goal at the 5.

Crippen called his own number with a 5-yard sprint to the left pylon to give the Indians the lead at 49-42 with 7:08 left in the game.

Montgomery was driving for the game-tying score. Washington, who rushed for a game-high 371 yards and four TDs, fumbled the ball at the PNG 35, which was recovered by Matthew Kendrick.

The Indians were able to run on the clock to preserve the win.

Indian Spirit Carter Collins fans the smoke before the football team’s entrance. (Chris Moore/The News)

PNG took the opening kickoff and marched down the field, looking to put the game’s first points on the board. The Indians only faced one third down on the drive. A completion from Crippen to Prosperie for 9 yards put the ball at the Bears 36.

Chase Johnson had a 12-yard run and Trahan followed with a 7-yard run to the Montgomery 17. Crippen’s pass was tipped and intercepted by Bryce Treille.

Montgomery took advantage of the PNG turnover with a lengthy scoring drive. Washington had a 30-yard run to give the Bears first-and-goal at the 5. Washington scored three plays later on a 2-yard run to put the Bears up 7-0 with 2:18 left in the first quarter.

The Indians answered right back. Following a 24-yard completion from Crippen to Prosperie, Trahan rushed five straight times, the last of which was a 3-yard TD run to tie the game at 7-7 with 10:48 left in the second quarter.

PNG forced a three-and-out on Montgomery’s next possession. Punter Nick De Las Alas’ punt went off the side of his foot and only made it back to the line of scrimmage, giving PNG the ball at the Bears 25.

The Indians didn’t waste the good field position, scoring five plays later on a Trahan 1-yard TD run. Crippen had a 22-yard completion to Cooper Faircloth to set up PNG with first-and-goal at the 1.

(Chris Moore/The News)

Montgomery needed just two plays to tie the game on its ensuing possession. Brock Bolfing hit Ryder Adler for a 24-yard completion. The Bears dipped into their playbook with a pass behind the line of scrimmage to receiver Maddox Plazek, who then threw a 40-yard touchdown pass to Adler to tie the game at 14-14 with 6:03 left in the second quarter.

Once again, PNG had an answer. Crippen hit Carson Wallace for 15 yards and Prosperie for 13 yards to get the drive started. Crippen capped the drive with a 29-yard scoring strike to Prosperie to give the Indians a 21-14 lead with 2:51 left in the second quarter.

The PNG defense forced another three-and-out by the Bears and were able to turn that into a scoring drive right before halftime. Crippen hit Landon Guarnere with a 28-yard touchdown pass with seven seconds left in the second quarter to give the Indians a 28-14 halftime lead.

The Game Ball Goes To…Cole Crippen who completed 24 of 29 passes for 344 yards and three TDs. He also rushed for 39 yards on seven carries and one TD. His 5-yard TD run with 7:08 left in the fourth quarter was the game-winning score.

The Play Of The Game Was…Matthew Kendrick recovered a fumble by Montgomery’s Jalen Washington at the Indians 35 with 5:07 left in the game. The Bears were driving for the tying score, but the Indians were able to run out the clock following the turnover to preserve the win.

Up Next…PNG will play Texas High School next week in the Region III Class 5A-Division II semifinals. Kickoff is at 6 p.m. Nov. 26 at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana.

— By Daucy Crizer, Special to the News

Running back Koby Trahan runs through defenders. (Chris Moore/The News)