KATY, Texas — A stingy defense coupled with a solid offense has propelled Port Neches-Groves to their first State Championship appearance since 1999.
After opening the game with a Andres Sandoval field goal, the Indian defense got their first taste of the Slot-T.
The Panthers ran it to perfection as Ben Carter exploded for a long touchdown to give Liberty Hill a 7-3 lead.
PNG wouldn't take long to respond. Cole Crippen found Chance Prosperie for the Indians' first touchdown of the night. After a missed extra point, the Indians held a 9-7 lead.
That lead would grow to nine when Crippen connected with Landon Guarnere with 10:42 left in the second quarter, and they weren't done.
Big Purple added to their lead with 4:58 in the second, that's when Sandoval drilled a 34-yard field goal to give PNG a 19-7 advantage.
After controlling the Liberty Hill offense for most of the first half, the Panthers broke through when Jaxon Hines punched it in from one yard out with 1:05.
With Liberty Hill receiving the ball first in the second half, the Tribe needed the grab the momentum back. They did just that.
Cole Crippen took the snap with five seconds left on the clock and hit Shea Adams for a short TD toss that put Port Neches-Groves up 25-14 at halftime.
From there the Indians would never look back, pulling away for a 42-14 win.
Next up Port Neches-Groves (13-2) will face defending State Champion South Oak Cliff (12-3) in the 5A-Division II State Championship Friday night at 7 pm Arlington's AT&T Stadium.