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PA News Sports

November 2, 2011

McMillian faster, trimmer for Titans

PORT ARTHUR — Since 9th grade, Memorial senior inside linebacker Davonte McMillian

has been living the Titans unofficial motto, “Hard work pays off.”

He’s transformed himself from an offensive lineman as a freshman into

one of the best linebackers in the district playing for one of the

fastest defenses in school history. But, what truly makes McMillian

special is he adds a healthy dose of leadership, coachability and

physicality to the mix every week.

“He’s one of the best leaders I’ve been around,” Memorial head coach

Kenny Harrison said. “He’s a very physical kid. He’s one of our

captains along with (fellow ILB) Elandon Roberts. He’s always giving

110 percent, both in games and in practice.”

McMillian turned that hard-working focus on his speed last offseason,

rounding out his defensive repertoire a little more.

“In the offseason, I hit it hard every day with a state championship

on my mind,” McMillian said. “I slimmed down and got a little trimmer.

I got my speed up and am a lot better than where I was last year. I

feel real strong.”

That hard work started seeing dividends starting last summer, when

McMillian went to a football camp and posted blistering times.

“He went to a camp last summer and ran a 4.5 (40-yard dash),” Harrison

said. “I think that encouraged him to keep working hard. It raised the

bar for him on his speed. He understands that for an undersized

linebacker, he has to be physical and he has to run well. He does both

of those things and really plays like he’s 6-foot-5 and 225 pounds on

the field.”

McMillian recorded 11 tackles against Beaumont West Brook, showing off

some of that physicality. He and the other linebackers in Memorial’s

defense understand that they all play a role, which is why that unit

has been so successful this season.

“He’s an unselfish guy playing next to three other unselfish guys,”

Harrison said. “They understand the role they’re playing out there and

they take pride in that. They know our scheme is going to put them in

position to make plays. They’ve been working with linebackers coach

(Mark) Crooms on tackling drills and playing at a high tempo. All that

has helped make Davonte McMillian successful this season.”

While all of the linebackers for Memorial share similar traits, what

makes McMillian stand out of Harrison is the combination of all his

skills.

“He’s really a standout because all his skills are good,” Harrison

said. “All our linebackers are physical players. Davonte has worked on

his speed and gotten that to a good level. He’s a smart player on the

field and a great leader. The combination of all those things makes

him such a special player.”

McMillian likes getting the chance to make plays when teammate Elandon

Roberts takes on a lead blocker. He also says the success of the

linebacking corps is all about communication.

“We just love the game,” McMillian said. “In the game, we talk to each

other. Communication is big because if you don’t talk together, you

aren’t going to play together. I love when (Elandon) blows it up and I

can just have a chance to make a big play that’s right there for me.”

The senior says he’s talked with a number of schools about playing at

the next level, including Stephen F. Austin, Tulsa and the University

of Houston. But, McMillian is waiting until after the season before he

makes a decision.

He’s also heading into his final regular season game at Memorial

Stadium and knows how big a game this is for his team.

“Going into this week, we have to play team ball,” McMillian said.

“I’ve got to show my community, my friends and family what I can do

one more time.”

TITAN TIDBITS: Quarterback Terrence Singleton was named Offensive MVP

and Offensive Back of the Week for his efforts last week against La

Porte. Seniors Jhajuan Seales and Aerian Jackson were named

co-recipients of the WR of the Week, while Tre’Von Armstead won OL of

the Week. McMillian took home the Defensive MVP last week while junior

James Jenkins won DB of the Week, Elandon Robert got LB of the Week

and Walter Oliver won DL of the Week. … Memorial came out with some

bumps and bruises against La Porte, but cornerback Jaylon Howard was

able to play. He should be back this week against Baytown Sterling. …

Memorial fell out of the AP Top 10 this week, but still garnered

votes, finishing 14th overall. The Titans have a chance to tie the

school regular season record for most wins by beating Sterling on

Friday. … Memorial’s playoff picture is still very jumbled. The Titans

don’t even know if they’ll be playing in Division I or Division II. If

both West Brook and North Shore win this Friday, Memorial would be

bumped down to Division II and would play either Pasadena Memorial or

South Houston. If Memorial goes into Division I with Channelview

bumping West Brook or North Shore out of the playoffs, it would play

either Deer Park or Pasadena Dobie…. District 21-5A is undefeated this

season against teams from 22-5A. Memorial has already beaten South

Houston while La Porte beat Deer Park 34-31. North Shore beat Pasadena

Memorial 17-6 while both Channelview and Baytown Sterling won two

games against 22-5A. The Falcons beat Dobie and Pasadena Memorial

while Sterling beat Pasadena and South Houston. West Brook is the only

21-5A team to not play someone from its bidistrict rival.

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