The Port Arthur News
PORT ARTHUR —
There were some tense moments last Saturday for Port Arthur Memorial head coach Kenny Harrison. The fourth-year Titans boss was the offensive coordinator for Team Texas in the 11th annual Bayou Bowl in Baytown, but his offense wasn’t moving much.
At halftime, Texas trailed Louisiana 7-6.
“I was like, ‘Man, six points…,’” Harrison said. “I didn’t want to be the one to come in here and let the Bayou Bowl get tied up 5-5-1. The thing was, some of the things we did, we shot ourselves in the foot with turnovers and penalties. I don’t think it was so much what Louisiana was doing as much as what we didn’t do. The kids were playing hard and excited. We had some mental mistakes that cost us 14-21 points in that first half.”
In the second half, Harrison’s offense made up those points they left on the field in the first half, as Team Texas scored two touchdowns en route to the 22-14 victory. Cinco Ranch running back Adam Johnson scored the only two TDs for Texas, breaking a pair of long runs.
That helped Texas keep its edge in the bowl series at 6-4-1.
Johnson played for Texas head coach Don Clayton last season at Cinco Ranch, and Harrison had nothing but good things to say about what he saw from Clayton last week.
“It was a good learning experience,” Harrison said. “I got to learn from some unbelievable coaches. Coach Don Clayton is just an unbelievable coach. It was great getting to see how he does business and getting a chance to observe him. It was great. I enjoyed it.”
Team Texas went with Memorial’s Ricky Fisk in the first half of the game at quarterback, with center Toan Nguyen also starting on the offensive line. Receiver John Leday, who’s reporting soon to the University of Houston, played sparingly to avoid getting dinged up.
All three played well when they were in the game, according to Harrison.
“Toan did really well,” Harrison said. “He didn’t have any bad snaps, which is always a plus. Rick did okay. We had short practices during the week and he was trying to adjust to new receivers. He had gotten used to his guys being in one place and had to adjust to where new guys might be. He got a good opportunity of what it’s going to be like in college.
“John did a good job on a punt return and caught a couple of passes. We were hesitant with him because he’s reporting to UH soon. We were fortunate that he got to play in the game. They’re all college guys, so we just wanted to keep from putting them in some situations.”
The player who made the most favorable impression on Harrison in a short time was Fort Bend Dulles quarterback Robert Harris. The 6-foot, 190 pound signal caller is set to attend Mary-Hardin Baylor in the fall and ran the offense well behind Fisk.
“He started the second half and sparked the team,” Harrison said. “He’s a heck of an athlete and a great football player. We knew that going in, but he’s the kid that impressed me the most. He came in with a positive attitude and did a tremendous job.”
Overall, it was a good learning experience for Harrison and one he can build off of the next time he gets to coach in an all-star game.
“I enjoyed it,” Harrison said. “It was definitely a learning experience for me. The thing about an all-star game is you don’t get many practices. Being my first time, I was trying to gauge how much to put in. If I’m fortunate to coach in another one, I’ll be a lot better than it was this time.”