Johnson, Hughes lead PN-G past Baytown Sterling
After Tropical Storm Harvey wiped out high school football throughout Southeast Texas last week, a handful of teams began their seasons Friday.
Port Neches-Groves High School made its return to Indian Stadium in the best way possible.
Junior quarterback Roschon Johnson had 416 total yards and six touchdowns as the Indians defeated Baytown Sterling, 55-31.
“Just to be back playing football is a blessing,” Johnson said. “If we could be the bright spot for people tonight, that’s good for everybody.”
PN-G’s win came just over a week after Groves and parts of Port Neches received heavy flooding because of Harvey.
Taking up several rows on the vistors’ side stands were member of the Texas Army National Guard’s Austin-based 36th HHBN unit, which has resided since Monday at the First Baptist Church in Port Neches.
“They’ve been helping us all week with meals and lodging,” 1st Lt. Heather Seidl said. “We went to go get food tonight and they asked us if we wanted to go to a ball game and we ended up here.”
The unit has been assisting with recovery efforts in Port Arthur, receiving donations at a Houston Avenue warehouse. Their next assignment is currently unknown.
“We leave (today),” Seidl said. “We were called up for the storm. We could go somewhere else, we could go home - right now it’s sort of ‘stand-by.’”
Clad in matching light blue shirts, a contingent of the Cajun Army stood out from the purple and white-clad spectators around them at the game as they took a break from their mission.
“This is exactly what they needed,” member Brandon Hammock, of Nederland, said. “These guys have been working hard, day in and day out, tearing out houses of perfect strangers. Dirty, nasty work - they just needed a break and this was the best family-friendly place for them to unwind.”
The Indians (1-0), especially Johnson and the offense, made the experience worth it.
Johnson led PN-G to touchdowns on six of their seven first-half drives, including throwing a 30-yard touchdown pass to senior receiver Cameron Stansbury as time expired in the first half.
Johnson also threw a 55-yard touchdown pass to senior receiver Preston Riggs on the first drive of the game and juked a defender on a 15-yards touchdown run.
Riggs led all PN-G receivers with 233 yards and three touchdowns.
“Preston and I have a really good connection,” Johnson said.
Sophomore running back Gavin Deslatte added 116 rushing yards and two touchdowns in his first regular season start.
The Indians outgained Sterling 543 to 306 but the Rangers (0-1) were able to rush the ball effectively.
Running back Calvin Hill had 199 of Sterling’s 300 rushing yards.
Sterling pulled with 17 points twice in the second half but couldn’t pull any closer.
PN-G returns to action when it hosts Lumberton in the district opener on Sept. 20.