The Port Arthur News
Friday marks the beginning of another quest for a state championship in Port Arthur. The Port Arthur Memorial Titans will be competing for the Texas state 7-on-7 championship in Division I starting Friday.
The location for the championship has changed this year. After taking place in College Station for years, a ruling by the SEC means that the championship had to relocate to another venue. That turned out to be Southwest Williamson County Regional Park in Leander.
Memorial is in Pool J on Field 2 of the complex and will be competing with El Paso Montwood, Frisco Centennial and Pearland for a spot in the championship bracket. The Titans will play three games on Friday, with the top two teams from the pool advancing to the championship bracket Friday morning. The bottom two teams will play in a consolation bracket also on Saturday.
Players will be given adidas jerseys to compete in and will get to keep these after the event ends.
Pearland may be the name most familiar to Titans fans, as the Oilers won the Division I title in 2010. Last year, Pearland went 8-3 and lost in bidistrict play, but reached the playoffs for a 13th straight season. The Oilers should be defense first, led by linebacker Justin Phillips, who had 64 tackles last season and is committed to Oklahoma State. Defensive back Marlon Walls, who had one interception last year, is a Rivals.com two-star recruit who has an offer from New Mexico State.
On offense, Pearland is led by mobile quarterback Kalen Johnson, who has offers from Howard and Yale right now. Running backs Jalcobie Butler and Hayden Cole are going to be big parts of the offense, but may not provide much value in this 7-on-7 venue.
El Paso Montwood, from District 1-5A, went 8-3 last season and lost in bidistrict play. The Rams are picked to win their district after making the playoffs for a seventh straight season last year. They’re led on offense by receiver Warren Redix, who had 800 yards and five TDs last season. Quarterback Jacob Aguilar was a part-time starter last year, but should be stepping into a bigger role this year.
Frisco Centennial is the only Class 4A team in the Titans’ pool. Centennial is also nicknamed the Titans and may be Memorial’s biggest competition in the pool. Centennial was 12-2 last season and made it to the Division I regional finals. Many of the offensive players from that team were lost to graduation, but the other Titans still have plenty of weapons. Chief among them is tight end Stoney Hawkins, a 6-foot-4, 225 pound playmaker who had 623 yards and 10 TDs last season. He’s got offers from four schools, including Air Force and New Mexico.
Two area teams made the Division II bracket for teams from Class 3A and under. Jasper and Kountze competed in Pools K and L, respectively. Jasper lost all three of its games, losing 60-27 to Graham in the first game of pool play before falling 33-20 against Crockett in overtime and 21-14 against Boerne.
Kountze lost 21-6 to Kaufman in its first game of pool play before losing 41-13 to Burnet to Booker, but beat Booker 26-25. Both Kountze and Jasper finished in fourth place in their pools and will compete in the consolation bracket on Friday. Kountze will play Coleman at 8 a.m. while Jasper will face the Cameron Yoe at 8 a.m.