Memorial’s turn: Titans open up as Tornadoes come right in
Published 1:20 am Saturday, August 27, 2016
Kenny Harrison is ready.
The Port Arthur Memorial Titans step on the field tonight at 7 at the Thomas Center in Beaumont to take on the Bay High Tornadoes of Panama City, Fla., in the Lone Star Classic.
The Saturday game gave Harrison a unique opportunity the night before.
He was able to stay in Southeast Texas and scout instead of heading to Houston.
“I haven’t been in the stands at Port Neches since 1990,” Harrison said. “It feels good being able to watch a couple of games instead of driving two hours.”
Harrison said his first stop of the night would be in Beaumont to watch Central take on West Brook before heading to The Reservation.
Then his attention would turn to Bay High.
“I do know they are a very athletic team,” Harrison said of the Tornadoes, who went 8-3 last year. “I know they run a spread offense. It is going to be a lot of fun for our kids.”
Bay High ran mostly out of the I-formation a year ago and defeated Vidor, 19-7, in Texas last season.
The Tornadoes made the playoffs for the first time in 12 years in 2015. Bay High lost to eventual state runner-up Wakulla, 21-16, in the first round. Wakulla’s quarterback was Feleipe Lopez, who is now at Florida.
Bay High’s quarterback this season is Sam Clement, who spent last year as the long snapper.
This was not the first time Harrison has been contacted about playing in the Lone Star Classic.
“They always wanted us to play teams from Houston, which we already did,” Harrison said. “We did that all the time in District 21-6A.”
This year was different since Memorial will play a majority of its games in District 22-5A.
“I thought it would be good to play a team out of Florida,” Harrison added. “It was made easier when we got to play in our backyard and didn’t have to travel.”
Harrison’s Titans faced Pearland and Goose Creek Memorial in scrimmages leading up to tonight’s game against Bay High.
The Titans are coming off back-to-back 3-7 seasons and have missed the playoffs two straight years. Memorial hopes to change that being the biggest school in District 22-5A.
He has already learned what one of the strengths of his team is, and junior running back Elijah Hines has made it obvious.
“Our run game has really come along,” Harrison said. “Our O-line is getting better each week. From the first practice to now, the run blocking has really made progress.”
Gabriel Pruett: 721-2436. Twitter: @PaNewsGabe