PNG REPORT: Indians dealing with early-season injuries

PORT NECHES — The Port Neches-Groves Indians are banged up.
PNG lost two seniors to ACL injuries over the summer, fullback Jace Runnels and linebacker Parker Shults.
Runnels and Shults are lost for the season.
“We had some very unfortunate injuries over the summer,” Faircloth said. “Jace was an all-district player at two positions. He was all-district at fullback and tight end. Shults was going to be a starter at linebacker.”
Faircloth and the Indians hit the field at about 5:30 a.m. Monday without the duo and also had starting center Justice Langston in street clothes.
Langston had an emergency appendectomy last week and is expected to miss several more weeks after the surgery.
“We hope to have him back in time for Silsbee,” Faircloth said. The Indians host the Tigers at 7 p.m. Aug. 26. “Those are three important guys right there. You hate to see it because they are all really good kids. Both Parker and Jace really worked hard for their senior years. Life can be unfair sometimes.”
Faircloth said Runnels and Shults now have a new, important role with PNG after both were seen at practice Monday.
“They will be there everyday,” Faircloth said. “They are still a huge part of this football team. Jace today was out there coaching the running backs up. They are going to be outstanding student-coaches this year.”
Junior Preston Hughes is slated to be the Indians starting running back. The Indians get some help at linebacker with Logan Lejeune moving in from safety.
PNG’s offense line is also dealing with the loss of Jim Hauck whose family moved since last football season. Hauck was an honorable mention selection to the Texas Sports Writers Assocation’s Class 5A All-State team.
Faircloth reported Monday sophomore Roschon Johnson is the Indians starting quarterback.
“Austin Bost did not lose a competition with Roschon,” Faircloth said. “We had to make a decision what was best for our entire football team. Bost can play so many positions. He is going to be our starting safety and is on both kickoff teams. Austin is so valuable to us at other positions.”
Johnson flashed a great arm Monday and several of his teammates said he is one of the hardest worker players they have seen.
“He is a great leader,” Faircloth said. “Both of those guys are going to do what is best for our football team. Those are the types of players you can win a lot of games with.”
Johnson has the task of replacing two-year starter Adam Morse. Morse threw for 2,748 yards and 36 touchdowns in 2015.

Gabriel Pruett: 721-2436. Twitter: @PaNewsGabe

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