The Reservation is one of the area’s most iconic stadiums

Published 12:22 am Sunday, August 7, 2022

PORT NECHES — There are not many high school football stadiums like the one in Port Neches.

Dubbed The Reservation by locals, Indian Stadium, located at 1401 Merriman St., has been the home of PNG since 1951. The stadium holds more than 12,000 fans, with 8,500 seats on the home side.

In 2020, it was named the best high school football stadium in the state, according to fan voting for Dave Campbell’s Texas Football.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The stadium has been home to three state championship title teams in 1953, 1955 and 1975. During that time, PNG has also produced five undefeated seasons, the most recent being the 2009 team.

PNG Independent School District School Board President Scott Bartlett said the community has great pride in the stadium.

“You can feel the pride on Friday nights when our community fills the stands, when the purple pride band is playing Cherokee after the Indians score a touchdown,” Bartlett said.

Bartlett and his wife moved to the area in 2004 and he still remembers the first time he attended a football game the following year.

“We were blown away by the pride and traditions this community shows every Friday night when the Indians take the field,” he said.

This past season saw a historic moment when senior running back Koby Trahan broke a 40-year-old rushing record held by Jeff “The Jet” Bergeron. Trahan rushed for 365 yards in a 56-40 win over Kingwood Park. Bergeron’s record was 347, which was set in 1971.

Many visitors compare the stadium to that of a small college. While the PNG faithful can pack the venue on any given Friday night, nothing compares to seeing a full house against rival Nederland.

“There is not another rivalry in high school football that compares to Mid County Madness,” Bartlett said. “No words can describe it. You have to experience it in person to understand.”

Even opposing coaches have a hard time in the stadium. According to PNGindians.com, former Little Cypress-Mauriceville Head Coach Randy Crouch was quoted as saying, “It’s a different place to play. I hope our kids can settle in with all the pageantry, and the music and the big stadium. You can get caught up in all of that. And if you do, you can get behind quick.”

PNG has also been on the forefront of stadium upgrades. There was a complete overhaul for the 2008-09 season as part of $10.2 million in renovations from a 2007 school bond vote. Turf replaced the natural surface, and the district added a 7-lane track around the field. A new video replay scoreboard replaced the north end bleachers, and a new press box was added.

Prior to last season, the district replaced the turf and track as part of scheduled maintenance.

“We don’t see the need for upgrades to the stadium in the near future,” Bartlett said. “We have an amazing maintenance department that keeps things in tip-top shape.“

PNG returns to the field Aug. 26 to open the football season against Memorial.