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Kingwood turns Titan mistakes into first win

A big, late turnover and some sloppy defense cost Memorial its second straight loss to Kingwood in as many years, losing 42-34 in a homecoming upset at Memorial Stadium on Friday night.

The miserable exclaimation mark that sentenced the Titans to the loss came when they fumbled away the ball to Kingwood with just five minutes to go in the game. Kingwood took over at Memorial’s 16-yard line. Just three plays later, the Mustangs Matt Brown was in the endzone for his fourth time of the night after he poked in a 5-yard touchdown run.

With that score, Kingwood went up 35-28 and moved ahead for good.

For the second year in a row, Memorial falls to 3-3 overall and 1-1 in District 21-5A after losing to the Mustangs, who came into the contest without a win. The Mustangs improve to 1-5 and a 1-1 in district play.

“History is repeating itself,” head coach Ronnie Thompson said. “We have the same record now as we did a year ago. I thought they (Kingwood) played a great game and we didn’t play very well at all. The loss was a combination of our careless errors and the great game that they played. I mean they came in here leading the district in give-aways but we made most of the mistakes.”

Careless errors topped with three interceptions, a fumble and 60 penalty yards killed the Titans.

Harry Brown, who looked good at times, tossed two picks to Kingwood’s Kyle Horine in the first half. Brown threw for three touchdowns, however. Twice he hooked up with Freddie King for scores. He found King on a 59-yard bomb to jump out 6-0. Then later in the half, Brown tossed King a 14-yard pass for a touchdown to tie the ball game at 14-14.

Brown threw for 226 yards on 17-of-26 passing.

“I thought the offense was clicking early but penalties and turnovers killed us. We would start to move the ball and penalties killed several big gains,” Thompson said.

Memorial came out in the second half and scored 14 points in the third quarter to claim a 28-21 lead. Moments after Jarael Alexander punched in that go-ahead touchdown, Kingwood’s Brown scored his third of four touchdowns, springing free for a 68-yard run to tie the game at 28-28 with seconds left in the third quarter.

Alexander, who took several snaps at quarterback, added to the Titans’ misery by finding Horine early in the third quarter for his third interception.

Alexander threw the ball just four times, going 2-for-4 with a pick. He connected with King two times for a total of 16 yards. Alexander also had 41 yards on the ground on eight carries, with two touchdowns in the second half.

Alexander’s first score gave his team a 28-21 lead. His second score was the team’s last, coming on a 5-yard run around the left side to narrow Kingwood’s lead to 42-34.

That was as close as the Titans would come. Memorial tried the on-side kick with under a minute to play but Kingwood managed to fall on the bouncing ball.

King led Memorial with 112 yards on six receptions.

King’s one blemish in the game came when he lost the ball when trying to receive a hand-off on a end-around play that led to points for Kingwood.

Amazingly enough, that was the one turnover that led to points for Kingwood. Those were the crucial points, however.

Aside from all the careless errors, Memorial’s defense was outplayed as well. Kingwood punished the Titans all night. Brown, who scored twice in the first half and twice in the second, rushed for a total of 120 yards on just eight carries. His first score came on a 1-yard run and a 7-6 advantage. His second score came when he broke off a 37-yard touchdown run and a 14-6 lead.

As a team, Kingwood rushed for 369 yards on 47 carries. They picked up 15 first downs, 14 on the ground. Quarterback Geoffrey Perrott busted off 91 yards on 14 carries and added a 30-yard touchdown run that gave his team a 21-14 lead at the half.

Jordan Raney got in on the action as well. He rushed for 72 yards on nine carries and found the endzone on a 13-yard touchdown run that gave Kingwood a 42-28 advantage.

“Our defense just didn’t matchup with the style of offense they run,” Thompson said. “They are the only team we face that has that kind of offense (Kingwood runs an option attack from the flexbone). You have to credit what they were doing. They played hard and executed very well.”

Desmond Gardiner got his second pick of the year and Patterson Clay scored his fourth touchdown of the year. Clay had seven receptions for 50 yards, including a 10-yard catch and run from Brown for a touchdown that tied the game at 21-21 in the third quarter. Clay also rushed for 18 yards on 12 carries.