That has to be how Beaumont Ozen felt Saturday night, as Port Arthur Memorial defensive tackle Matthew Romar almost single-handedly, scoring three rushing touchdowns and being part of a suffocating defense that was the lynchpin of a 37-15 Titans victory over Ozen at Beaumont’s Thomas Center.
Defensively, Romar added eight tackles, a sack and broke up a pass. On that PBU, he nearly had a fourth TD, as he flew in on a screen play, tipped the ball up in the air and juggled it before it fell to the ground.
As it was, the Memorial defense had two scoring plays on the night, picking up two safeties and holding Ozen quarterback Jordan Ozen to just 16 passing yards after he threw for over 400 last week against West Brook.
“Ozen is a pretty good football team,” Memorial head coach Kenny Harrison said. “Jeff (Nelson) does a tremendous job over there. He had his kids well prepared. We were fortunate to come out of it with a victory and get back to the drawing board to correct some of the mistakes we made.”
Romar was installed as the goal line tailback this week in practice, with big defensive tackle Walter Oliver and linebacker Dante Lovilotte as the fullbacks in Memorial’s short yardage set.
It didn’t take long for that formation to pay dividends.
The Titans scored once in the second quarter, when Romar took it from the 2-yard line and scored his fifth career offensive touchdown. The 6-foot-3, 275 pounder scored four rushing TDs last year in goal line work and came into the game with eight carries for 18 yards.
He finished the game with four carries for 47 yards and three more TDs, giving him seven career TDs (eight total, counting an INT return last season against South Houston).
“We thought the package worked real well,” Harrison said. “We had some problems last week against Central in the red zone, so we put some things together to give our offense a better opportunity to score.”
His second rushing TD was the turning point of the game for the Titans, as Romar burst through the Ozen line on a fourth-and-1 call from the Ozen 40. He rumbled through the defenders and into the open field for a 40-yard TD with 5:37 left in the game to make it 30-15.
“It was an amazing feeling,” Romar said. “All I saw was the touchdown.”
Memorial’s defense held Ozen to 222 total yards of offense, but 95 of those came on two plays. After holding the Panthers to just 5 total yards on the first 14 offensive plays of the game, speedy Ozen running back Jakobi Jones broke a 65-yard TD run to tie the game at 8-8.
The Titans responded with a 66-yard drive capped by a pretty Ricky Fisk pass over the shoulder of Roderic Rucker for a 29-yard TD. It marked the second straight week that Rucker has scored a receiving touchdown, as the junior wideout finished with three catches for 62 yards.
On the next Ozen play after a touchback, Jordan Ozen scrambled down his own sideline for a 30-yard run. He then drove the Panthers down to Memorial’s 19, but couldn’t covert on a fourth-and-17 at the Titan 19 to turn the ball over on downs.
Defensively, the Titans had everything clicking in this one, despite missing safety Darius Lemora, who missed his second straight game. The Titan defensive line combined for 25 tackles, including four for a loss, with two taclkes and a PBU.
The secondary chipped in with nine PBUs in the game and two interceptions. One of those came when Jacody Boone caught a pass tipped by one of the Titan linebackers. The second was from James Jenkins, who caught a floating pass from Ozen after he was hit by linebacker Darius Hampton on the throw. It was Jenkins’ second interception of the season.
“We did a good job,” Harrison said. “When they were on the field, we got good pressure. Our secondary had to come up big and play aggressive and that’s just what they did. We got the victory, that’s what’s important. We get Darius Lemora back next week, and I think that will be an important addition from a leadership standpoint.”
In his second start, Memorial quarterback Ricky Fisk became the first Titan to top 100 yards rushing this season. The senior had 17 carries for 112 yards and a touchdown, scoring the Titans first TD of the fourth quarter to put them up 24-15 with 8:26 left to play.
Fisk was less successful at getting his talented receivers involved. John Leday led the team in receptions with four but only had 28 yards. Five different Titans had catches, but none had more than Rucker’s 62 receiving yards. Fisk finished the game 11 for 19 passing for 113 yards with one TD and one interception.
Three of those incompletions came from drops, but the Titans seemed to struggle to get into a rhythm with the passing game.
The running game outside of Fisk and Romar’s long run also suffered, but Titan fans got to see the debuts of a pair of young running backs late in the game. Freshman Kameron Martin had a kickoff return for 40 yards last week against Central, but picked up his first varsity carry against the Panthers on a 10-yard run for a first down. Martin finished with four carries for 18 yards.
Sophomore back Corey Dauphine, who had two tackles on defense, also got his first varsity carry. Dauphine finished with 13 rushing yards on two carries.
Port Arthur Memorial 37, Beaumont Ozen 15
Tipping point: On fourth-and-11 from the Ozen 25 with 10 minutes left in the game, Ricky Fisk scrambled past the Panther pass rush and found John Leday along the sideline for the first down. One play later, Fisk scored a TD to make it 24-15 Titans.
On defense: Linebacker Dante Lovilotte made four tackles on the Panthers’ first 12 offensive plays. He also had a safety and a sack in that stretch. The junior finished the game with eight tackles.
Stat of the game: In Ozen’s first 14 plays on offense, they had 5 total yards. On the next two, they had 95.
“Special” teams: Down 8-0 in the second quarter, Ozen broke through on the left side of the Memorial field goal line and blocked Ricardo Estupinan’s PAT. Kourtney Williams then returned the ball 90 yards to put Ozen on the board 8-2.
Under the radar: Nose tackle Walter Oliver tied for the team lead in tackles for a second straight week. The big run stuffer took down the slippery Jakobi Jones multiple times Saturday at the line of scrimmage.
- West Column: Sports science finds Jamaal Charles off the charts
- Chester Moore's Sunday Column
- Halliburton column: There was only one George Hawkins
- YMBL SHOOTOUT SCORES, SCHEDULE
- Another brutal Texans loss
- Woodard to return as LU football coach
- Realignment means big changes in Orange County
- Local coaches play realignment waiting game
- West golf notepad: Big hitters not necessarily big winners on PGA Tour
- Carthage to test Mustangs
- More Sports Headlines