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No. 6 THS faces Port Neches-Groves in regional semifinal

by Josh Richert | November 25, 2021 at 10:00 p.m.

NATCHITOCHES, La. -- Texas High is in the third round of the state playoffs for the first time since 2006.

The 6th-ranked Tigers take on Port Neches-Groves in a Region III-5A, Division II semifinal game today at 6 p.m. at Harry Turpin Stadium on the campus of Northwestern State University.

Texas High brings an 11-0 record into the game, and the Indians (8-4 overall) ride a 3-game win streak since an overtime loss (49-42) to Texas City -- last week's area round opponent for the Tigers.

"Port Neches-Groves has been playing really consistent football the last four or five weeks," Stanford said. "The biggest thing for them has been their quarterback (Cole Crippen) has been playing very comfortable; he's playing some of the best football across the state, right now.

"His accuracy percentage over the last two weeks (in the playoffs) is around 80 percent with over 700 yards in the last two games."

During its win streak, including a 49-42 upset of previously-unbeaten Montgomery in the area round, PNG is averaging 59 points per game. The Indians also have one shutout during that span.

On the season, Port Neches-Groves averages 40.2 points and allows 32.8 points per game.

Against Montgomery, Crippen completed 24-of-29 passes for 344 yards and three scores, and he also run for a touchdown and 39 yards on seven rushes. Koby Trahan had 24 carries for 149 yards, and the top receivers were Chance Prosperie (eight for 154 yards) and Landon Guarnere (seven for 105).

The Indians, who have advanced to the third round four times since 2000 but no further, finished the win over Montgomery with 583 yards of total offense, including 239 rushing. PNG played in the regional semifinals three straight years from 2016-2018.

The Tigers blanked the Stingarees, 31-0, in the area round for their second shutout of the season. Texas High is averaging 35.5 points and giving up just 11.1 points per outing.

THS puts up 349.6 yards of total offense and limits its opponents to just 232.6.

QB Brayson McHenry connected on 17-of-29 passes for 268 yards and three touchdowns last week to give him 1,410 passing yards and 13 TDs on the year. The senior signal-caller has connected on 106-of-184 passes and only has two interceptions.

Braylon Stewart is out front for the rushing attack with 238 carries for 1,715 yards and 24 scores. Blake Rogers has 34 receptions for 519 yards and eight TDs, Brandon Hall adds 25 catches for 234 yards, Cody Reese 21-288 and a TD, and T.J. Gray 14 for 230 and three touchdowns.

Michael Thomas leads the secondary with seven of the Tigers' 18 interceptions. Tyriq Robinson has six picks, as well. Derrick Brown (73), Javarous Tyson (69), Darrin Finley (65), Brandon Childs (55), Thomas (53) and Braxton White (50) are the leading tacklers on Texas High's stingy defense.

"Their offense has been putting up impressive numbers, and it goes back to their offensive line," Stanford said. "It is by far the best offensive line we've seen at this point. They've got big, physical kids, and we've got a huge challenge coming up, defensively.

"Offensively, we're going to have to execute and play with a lot of effort. On the defensive side, they've gotten better each week. As a whole, they're the most complete team we've seen all year.

The winner advances to the Region III-5A, Division II championship game/state quarterfinals next week against either Crosby or A&M Consolidated.

Tonight's game will be broadcast on KTFS 107.9 with pregame at 5.

Print Headline: No. 6 THS faces Port Neches-Groves in regional semifinal

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