PORT ARTHUR — oaching can be a thankless business. Not literally, of course, because there are many people there on Friday night thanking coaches after a victory. What I mean is that there’s an awful lot of time and effort put into a single play in a game that’s ultimately judged by a simple win or loss.
Not many other professions have such a rigid standard for success, but to be an effective coach, you have to believe in a favorite phrase around Port Arthur Memorial, “Hard work pays off.”
Memorial head coach Kenny Harrison believes that. He often comments about how one of the few things he can control is how hard he personally works, which is why he’ll spend early mornings and late hours working on a game plan.
That transfers to all of his staff, and is no different than any winning football program and most losing ones too. But, there was a great example of just how much work goes into a single play in a game in last week’s 37-33 loss to La Porte.
La Porte set up to kick off to the Titans after scoring an early touchdown. The Bulldogs were kicking into the wind and the kick ended up getting popped into the wind and settling over a player on the outside of the second wedge.
That player, backup quarterback Torian Lott, caught the ball, turned and fired a pass across the field to Roderic Rucker, who bolted up field and was brought down at the Memorial 46. Lott didn’t actually throw a pass, as he made sure it went backwards and counted as a lateral, while Rucker almost broke through for a long return, but was caught by a very good La Porte coverage team.
That return is what most people call a “trick play,” but the preparation for it isn’t easy. Think about all the planning that had to go into that one moment. First of all, the Titan coaching staff had to identify that the La Porte kicker liked to kick short into the wind, or “pooch” the ball short.