The Port Arthur News
PORT NECHES —
Last year, Port Neches-Groves senior linebacker Steven Segler was on varsity, but played behind Port Arthur News Super Teamer D.J. Schexnider. One of the things that time taught him was to never overlook an opportunity, something he’s done time and time again for the Indian defense this season.
“Last year, I was kind of resentful, because I sat behind D.J.,” Segler said. “I got to sit behind him and learn from him and didn’t get a lot of playing time. So, I was waiting for my chance and wanted to take full advantage of it, being my last year.”
Segler has made 90 tackles this season with two sacks, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. One of his biggest improvements from last year is playing more into the defensive scheme and following his reads.
“I have a lot of trouble with not doing what I’m told,”Segler said. “In practice, they’ll be like ‘Follow your guards or read your keys.’ At the beginning of the year, I’d get real excited and wouldn’t read my keys. Now, I feel like I’ve calmed down more and can read them better and fit to the ball better.”
The senior is also the vocal leader of the defense, lining them up and helping to get his teammates motivated.
“He’s one of our emotional leaders,” PN-G head coach Brandon Faircloth said. “He’s very vocal, almost too emotional out there, but he carries his emotions on his sleeve. He cares a lot about his teammates and about PN-G football. He’s a hard worker and is always ready to play.”
All that moving around was on prominent display against Vidor. PN-G switched to a 5-2 look to contain the Pirate running game and would shift and move around to confuse the Vidor blockers. Segler was a big part in getting them lined up to make those adjustments during last week’s game.
“He’s the quarterback of our defense,” Faircloth said. “He makes all our calls and gets everyone lined up on defense. He’s very coachable and really flies around out there.”
According to Segler, having played Vidor last season and having a week to prepare meant the switches and movement were not anything new.
“I’ve always been kind of the loud one on the field and the locker room,” Segler said. “I call the plays so I also have to be loud there. It’s kind of my thing, I like to yell. We know that Vidor has a pretty tricky offense and they have multiple formations. We’ve done it in the past where we try to line up different and keep them guessing. That
kind of gave us the edge of it.”
This season also brought the added wrinkle of versatility to Segler’s position. While he’s played defense for his entire football career, he was called on to play defensive line at times this year. Faircloth said he stepped up to that challenge and filled in admirably for the Indians.
“He stepped in for us and played some defensive line,” Faircloth said. “He even played DL and LB in the same week. He’s in on every special team, so the only time he’s not on the field is when our offense is out there. He’s just a solid football player.”
For Segler’s part, he said moving down into the trenches gave him some newfound respect for his teammates on the defensive line.
“It was kind of tough at first, going through some adversity,” Segler said. “In practice, I got a lot of help from the coaches and it came together. I wouldn’t say it’s my calling, but I managed to get through it.
“We’re always joking around in practice about how the defensive line gets confused. Now, seeing where they’re coming from, I’m quiet about that now.”
While the Indians don’t do much blitzing, they will fire it up depending on the other team’s protection schemes. That means Segler’s two sacks gave him a rare opportunity to hit the quarterback.
“It feels real good,” Segler said. “In practice, you can’t hit the quarterback. That’s the number one rule. When you get a chance to unleash on an opposing quarterback, it feels good.”
INDIAN INKLINGS: The son of Steve and Michelle Segler and Myra Norville, Steven would like to play football in college. He’s interested specifically in East Texas Baptist and would like to major in mechanical engineering. … If the Indians beat Beaumont Central Friday night, they will cap a three-year run in district play at 17-4. PN-G finished 5-2 last season after losing its first two district games and can finish at 5-2 once again this Friday. … The Indians will likely match up with 19-4A’s leader Barbers Hill (9-0, 6-0) in the bidistrict round of the Class 4A playoffs. PN-G and Barbers Hill would both be in Division II, with PN-G getting the second position from 20-4A if Livingston beats Vidor Friday. If Vidor wins and Beaumont Ozen beats Lumberton, Vidor and PN-G will both head to Division II, with PN-G owning the tiebreaker over the Pirates based on last week’s 22-15 victory. In that scenario, PN-G would play Dayton (6-3, 4-2). … The Indians came out of the Vidor game injury free and are finally back to full strength on the offensive line. Faircloth expects to explore the possibilities of mixing and matching some of his starters this week, with Justin Reasons possibly sliding over from center to guard.