Silsbee senior quarterback Pat Reed attempts to elude two Port Neches-Groves defenders on Friday at The Reservation. -Photo by Daniel Elizondo
While the Silsbee Tigers offense struggled to have possession and move the ball in a forward direction, the Port Neches-Groves Indians dominated the line of scrimmage offensively in running to a 45-21 victory on Friday at The Reservation.
It was not new to Silsbee falling in the opening game of the season, having done so one year ago to the Indians.
This year proved that a different PNG team came to play, and kept the Tigers at bay in what eventually turned into a rout.
“We just made too many mistakes,” Head Coach Bobby McGallion said. “You can’t give a good, quality football team easy opportunities.”
PNG took a 14-0 lead scoring two touchdowns within two minutes of each other. The Tigers could not get past the 50 on its first two possessions.
After two penalties pushed the Tigers back deep to their own 13-yard line on the opening drive of the game, a short punt gave the Indians a prime opportunity to take advantage.
PNG responded in five plays, capping the drive with a 2-yard run by Brant Halfin with 8:53 left in the first quarter.
On Silsbee’s second possession of the game, senior running back Floyd Spearman lost handle of the ball on his first carry and PNG recovered at the Silsbee 35-yard line.
The Indians took advantage of the short field and scored once again, this time in four plays.
PNG capped the drive on an end-around pass from Jeremiah Rose to Reece Wardlow for an 18-yard strike and a 14-0 lead.
Silsbee opened the second quarter with a 44-yard run by senior quarterback Patrick Reed putting the Tigers deep in Indians territory.
Four plays later, Reed tossed a 9-yard pass to Zayon Jackson to put Silsbee back into the game.
But PNG responded on its next drive after Kaleb Sparks caught a 26-yard pass from starting QB Ky Walker, setting up the Indians at the Silsbee 35-yard line. On its next play, Halfin scored on a 35-yard run to increase the PNG lead 21-7 with 8:02 in the first half.
Disaster almost struck again on the ensuing kickoff when Silsbee fumbled the kickoff return and gave the ball back to PNG. But on the Indians first possession, the ball went back to Silsbee on a fumble at the Silsbee 48-yard line.
The Tigers reached the PNG 21-yard line and scored on a 21-yard run by Reed to pull Silsbee within a touchdown, 21-14.
PNG responded with an 11-play drive and cap it with a 30-yard field goal by Dylan East with one second remaining in the half to go up 24-14.
The Indians took a 31-14 lead in the third quarter, taking the opening drive 13 plays and capping it with a 14-yard pass from Walker to Rose with 7 minutes remaining in the quarter.
Silsbee never gave up and responded with a 72-yard pass from Reed to Jackson to pull within 10 points, 31-21.
PNG did the same, responding with another time consuming drive, this time in seven plays, capping it with a 9-yard strike from Walker to Rose for a 38-21 lead.
Silsbee began to struggle offensively and couldn’t get quality drives into the fourth quarter.
Silsbee forced PNG to punt for the first time in the fourth quarter and had another opportunity to strike once again. But flags pushed the Tigers back and Reed tossed an interception on a third down and long. PNG took over at their own 28-yard line with 8:42 left in the game.
The Indians capped a 9-play drive with a 9-yard run by backup quarterback Adam Morse to take a comfortable 45-21 lead with 3:44 in the game.
PNG running back Halfin led all rushers in the game with 30 rushes for 144 yards and two touchdowns.
Reed finished as the leading statistical leader for the Tigers with 100 yards rushing on 11 carries with a touchdown and completed 8 of 18 passes for 112 yards with one interception and two touchdowns.
PNG quarterback Walker finished 24 of 30 passing with 248 yards and two touchdowns, both to Rose.
Silsbee will play Week 1 of the season at Little Cypress-Mauriceville on Friday. Kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m.