Injured since Week 3, Port Neches-Groves senior Shea Adams talks about returning in time for the playoffs

Published 12:26 am Thursday, November 16, 2023

PORT NECHES — Port Neches-Groves High received a welcome boost for the first round of the 5A-Division II playoffs with the return of starting quarterback Shea Adams.

The senior signal caller didn’t get the start under center but reprised his role as the Indians’ do-it-all weapon, which was similar to his contribution on last year’s team that made a state title run.

Adams, who suffered a Lisfranc injury against West Orange-Stark in Week 3, returned to the field in the regular season finale, but just to run out the clock in a blowout win for PNG. However, that was not the case for Adams in the Indians’ 37-7 win over Brenham last week.

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Adams carried the ball 10 times for 39 yards and three touchdowns, pushing PNG to the next round. The quarterback was part of the lethal ground attack that rushed for 244 yards on 53 carries on a cold, wet night.

“It felt great,” Adams said about his return. “It was a long time building. It was a lot of hours in treatment and everything. I just had to focus on being a leader and a captain throughout the whole process.”

Adams said the transition from on-field leader to the sideline was difficult, but added he was happy to be the team’s biggest supporter during his recovery.

“It was great to watch the team,” he said. “I think there were some doubts when they saw me go down, but they went undefeated without me. They did a great job. It is easier for me to lead by example on the field. I had to do my best to stay on the guys and stay positive.”

During Adams’ absence, sophomore Connor Bailey took the reins, keeping the Indians on the right track.

In the win over Brenham, Bailey competed 3 of 6 passes for 67 yards and one touchdown.

“I love watching Connor,” Adams said. “I love Connor so much. He did a fantastic job. I don’t think he threw an interception all district. He balled out there. He got his opportunity, and he looked great.”

Head Coach Jeff Joseph said the team is lucky to have a player like Adams.

“He is a really good football player,” Joseph said. “He is one of the best players on our football team. He is one of the best players in Southeast Texas. If we can get him going and more involved, that is going to make us better.”

The head coach said Adams’ involvement will be a week-to-week gameplan as the team eases the senior back into full swing.

“The good thing for us is that we have two very mature kids that are going to put the team first,” Joseph said. “I don’t think we have to worry too much about balancing egos or worry too much about playing time or anything like that.”

Joseph said Adams’ versatility allows the coaching staff to use the senior in different ways as he ramps back up.

“When he is fully healthy, he is going to be able to do a lot of things for us,” Joseph said. “Connor is going to prepare like he does. He has been a solid player for us. He has been running the offense and is going to keep doing that for us.”

The Indians now hit the road to take on the Leander Rouse Raiders at Legacy Stadium in Katy.

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. Friday.

The Raiders (8-3, 4-2 in District 11-5A Division II) are coming off a 55-27 win over McCallum in the first round. PNG (10-1, 7-1) enters the game on a 10-game streak.