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October 26, 2013

Indians pass past Pirates, 48-21

PORT NECHES — The Vidor Pirates brought the No. 1 rusher in District 20-4A into Friday night’s game at The Reservation. Port Neches-Groves countered with the top passer in the league.

In the end, the Tribe took the air out of the Pirates’ sails with an aerial attack that accounted for 295 yards and three touchdowns in the Indians’ 48-21 league win.

Ky Walker led the Indians with 241 yards passing, hitting 19 of 26 attempts and one of the Tribe’s three passing TDs as PN-G improved to 3-2 in district and 5-3 overall. At the same time, PN-G’s defense limited the league’s top rusher, Sage Smith, to just 105 yards on 18 carries. He was averaging 172 yards a game coming into Friday’s tilt against the Indians.

“We had a good defensive plan; I’m not sure it was about Smith,” PN-G Coach Brandon Faircloth said. “It was just about having a good scheme, getting off our blocks and reading our keys, the things good defenses do. We were getting a bunch of people to the football.”

As effective as the PN-G defense was early, that effort was nearly overshadowed by an offensive explosion in the first half that resulted in 17 points in both the first and second quarters, as the Indians took a 34-14 lead into the halftime break.

The Indians marched the game’s opening possession 70 yards in six plays, taking just a minute and 46 seconds to seize a 7-0 lead. In that drive, Walker completed five straight passes to put the Indians at the Vidor 1, where Brant Halfin crossed for the touchdown.

After a Vidor punt, the Indians came right back and marched 86 yards in 12 plays with Walker hitting Jeremiah Rose for 21 yards and the touchdown, giving PN-G a 14-0 advantage. Rose had a huge night, catching the ball nine times for 126 yards. His total Friday night puts him over 700 yards receiving for the season.

“Our coaches came up with a good offensive plan and Ky was accurate tonight, like he usually is,” Faircloth said. “He played a great game and Jeremiah got his catches and did a great job.”

Vidor’s struggles continued on its next drive when PN-G’s Corbin Coy pulled down an interception to end the Pirates’ drive. Eight plays later, Dylan East split the uprights from 31 yards out for a 17-0 advantage for the Indians.

While the Pirates appeared to be out of the game at this point, they turned the tables for a touchdown at the 9:11 mark of the second quarter. Moving 46 yards in nine plays, Vidor found paydirt on a 5-yard run by Smith, cutting the PN-G lead to 17-7.

The Indians bounced right back, marching 72 yards on their next possession, with Halfin sprinting the final 43 yards for the score with 7:35 left in the half. Halfin, who came in as the third best rusher in 20-4A, finished the night with 103 yards on 19 carries, leaving him just 22 yards short of 1,000 for the season at 978.

“Coming off a tough loss to Nederland last week was not easy but what we were able to do here tonight says a lot about our captains and our senior leadership,” Faircloth said. “We were able to put that game behind us and focus on VIdor. Our guys knew coming in here that we had three games left to play and we had to get back to work and get into the playoffs.”

Vidor hoped to play the spoiler, though, fighting down the field for 73 yards on seven plays, scoring with 3:59 left in the second quarter when QB Geth Simmons found a seam and went 43 yards for the score.

Rose showed his versatility on the Indians’ next drive, catching the ball once for 14 yards, then completing a pass on a reverse for 18 yards to Kaleb Sparks for a touchdown. Sparks finished with 8 catches for 99 yards. The Indians would finish their first half offensive onslaught with a 39-yard field goal by East for the 34-14 lead at the break.

The third quarter went scoreless for both teams with the Indians breaking the second-half stalemate with a TD at the 10:50 mark of the fourth quarter when Adam Morse took the ball at QB and bulled his way into the end zone from 3 yards out for a 41-14 lead.

On the ensuing kickoff, the Pirates fumbled the ball and the Indians pounced, scoring again three plays later on a Morse pass to Rose from 34 yards. Vidor managed its final score of the game as they drove 66 yards in 12 plays with Haylon Leckelt getting into the end zone from the 3.

The Indians travel to Beaumont Ozen next Friday where the Tribe hopes to keep its playoff hopes alive. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m.

“They are extremely athletic,” Faircloth said. “We are going to ask the same thing of our defense next week as we did of them tonight. We’re going to have to be physical and run to the ball.”

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