, Port Arthur, Texas


November 17, 2012

Manvel exploits Titans defense, grabs bidistrict victory

CHANNELVIEW — CHANNELVIEW -- For a second straight week, Port Arthur Memorial's fatal flaw proved the difference in a win and a loss.

This time, the inability to stop the run ended the Titans' season as Manvel beat Memorial 49-37 in the Class 5A, Division II bidistrict playoffs.

Manvel rushed for 202 yards on 23 carries in the first half alone and finished with 309 rushing yards in the game.

“The kids played extremely hard,” Memorial head coach Kenny Harrison said. “We had some injuries which we had to make some adjustments for. But, I was pleased how the kids battled through that. It says a lot about these seniors and our football team. (Manvel) did what good teams do and went right at us. Their coaching staff ran the ball right there and took advantage of us.”

Manvel opened the game with a 13 play scoring drive, capped by a 3-yard TD pass caught by Texas A&M commit Kyrion Parker from Shane McCarley.

Memorial answered with 10 straight points sandwicheD around Jacody Boone's second interception of the season. Ricardo Estupinan kicked a 27-yard field goal with just under 4 minutes left in the first quarter. After the Mavericks drove down to the Titan 39 on the ensuing drive, Boone picked off Manvel’s Shane McCarley at the Titan 19.

The Titans drove 81 yards and scored on quarterback Ricky Fisk’s 1-yard run, his 13th TD run of the season with 9:57 left in the second quarter. After Memorial went up 10-7 with 10 minutes, 23 seconds left in the second quarter, Manvel reeled off 21 straight points.

The Mavericks needed just six offensive plays to score three TDs. Qyalan Clay scored on a 46-yd run less than 30 seconds after Fisk to make it 14-10 Manvel.

On Memorial’s first offensive play after the kickoff, Manvel’s Gary Haynes intercepted a Fisk pass and returned it 35 yards for a TD to make it 21-10. After an Edward Mayfield run on first down of the ensuing drive, Fisk was sacked by Manvel defensive end Trey Silvers and fumbled the ball, which Manvel recovered at the Titan 29.

Four plays later, Mavericks senior Richard Rose scored on a 13-yard run to make it 28-10 with 8:11 to go in the first half.

Memorial gave up over 300 yards in back-to-back games, allowing 654 yards combined to La Porte and Manvel. In the past four games, the Titans had allowed 1,025 yards, after averaging 180 rushing yards allowed in the previous seven games.

Part of the problem Memorial had defensively was key players being out with injuries. Titan cornerback Devin Cockrell did not suit up for the game with a rib injury and was replaced in the lineup by Boone. Then, on the game’s first play, senior defensive tackle Matthew Romar was poked in the eye and temporarily lost vision in it.

“Any time you lose a kid like Matthew Romar, it’s tough to replace that,” Harrison said. “They ran right where Matthew would have been. He got poked in the eye and lost vision in his left eye. He ended up going to the hospital. He stayed on the bench for a little bit to see if his vision would come back but it didn’t, so he went to the hospital.”

By the end of the game, Memorial had also lost starting defenders Jalen Barnes and James Jenkins to injuries. Despite all that, the Titans still held Manvel’s prolific quarterback McCarley to just 174 passing yards in the game. Jenkins also had another Titans interception in the second quarter that led to another Estupinan field goal.

“Our kids came out and played extremely hard, “ Harrison said. “I couldn’t be prouder of this group of kids. I wish the outcome could have been different. I told them (at halftime) that it was nothing Manvel did to us, it was mental mistakes on my part that put us in a hole a little bit. If we can correct those, we’d be fine in the second half. We did that and made a run at them in the second half and had some chances. Manvel is a good team and did what they needed to do.”

The Titans were able to outscore Manvel 24-14 in the second half, but it was too little, too late. Memorial grabbed the opening kickoff of the second half and marched down for a quick touchdown with Mayfield and Fisk running for 45 of the 60 yards the drive covered. Fisk capped it with his 14th rushing TD this season.

Fisk finished the game with 86 rushing yards, giving him 983 rushing yards this season. Mayfield topped 100 yards for the second time this season with 12 carries for 100 yards, including 58 yards on six carries in the third quarter alone. The senior ended the season with 333 rushing yards, passing freshman Kameron Martin for the second-most on the team.

“I think driving down on that first drive and scoring, there was a momentum swing,” Harrison said. “We had momentum on our side. We had a couple of opportunities to make some third down stops, but their players made good plays to get it. If we had made a couple of those, we’d have been in good shape. They have some great athletes over there.”

Though leading receiver Roderic Rucker was hobbled by injuries and shut down by Texas A&M commit Tavares Garner for just two catches for 17 yards, Fisk was able to spread the ball around to six different receivers in the game. John Leday led the team with five catches for 73 yards while Brandon Leday had four catches for 56 yards.

Both Albert Jacobs and Tayylor Labrie had fourth quarter TD catches, as Jacobs finished with two catches for 39 yards and Labrie equaled his season receptions with three catches for 29 yards. Labrie scored a TD in each of the last two games after entering the La Porte game with just one catch all season.

Memorial ends the season at 8-3 while Manvel (10-1) will play Fort Bend Dulles in the area round at a site and time to be determined.

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