Memorial gaining respect in new district

Published 4:39 pm Friday, September 23, 2016

By Gabriel Pruett
The Port Arthur Memorial Titans are finally feeling good about themselves again.
Memorial is 1-0 in the District 22-5A standings and looking for its first 2-0 start in district play since 2013, when the Titans went 5-1 in District 21-6A.
The Titans get their chance to start 2-0 at 2 p.m. today when they face Ozen at the Thomas Center in Beaumont.
Things do not feel any different for the Titans and coach Kenny Harrison who said his team starts each day by worrying about themselves and not anyone else.
“We feel like if we take care of what we need to take of from a coach’s standpoint and player’s standpoint, everything else will take care of itself,” Harrison said. “We tell our kids to win every day in practice. That is how we keep them focused. We don’t allow them to have what you would call a bad practice. If we have a mediocre practice, we do some more sprints or things of that nature. Our main focus is winning each day and doing the absolute best we can.”
Memorial certainly seems to be doing the best it can. The Titans soundly defeated the Central Jaguars last week, 34-13, behind 230 rushing yards.
Elijah Hines had a bulk of that with 168 yards on 20 carries with three rushing touchdowns. He added an 85-yard kickoff return for his fourth score of the night.
Since then, the Titans have started to grab extra headlines and over the last couple of weeks were even the subject of a local sports podcast.
“It does feel good to have people give our program a little more respect this year,” Harrison said. “For a couple of years we were in a tough district and the numbers were not in our favor. We were able to compete some years, but the numbers caught up to us. I told our guys we are on a level playing field, so there are no excuses. We have to show up and play.”
Today’s game could be a revenge game of sorts for the Titans. Ozen defeated Memorial 31-30 last year. It was the first time in the series history the Panthers knocked off the Titans.
“Ozen has some athletes to put on the field,” Harrison added. “They had an opportunity to get their first district win against Baytown Lee and then had a setback against Vidor last week.”
The Pirates defeated the Panthers 42-7. Vidor had over 500 yards rushing against Ozen on 63 carries. Ozen was held to under 100 yards of total offense.
Ozen’s leading rusher is senior Sterling Winzer, who has 186 yards on 30 carries with one touchdown.
Panthers quarterback Dominique Morris has 170 yards on 18-of-48 passing with three touchdowns and no interceptions.
The Titans offense is quite different, full of explosive players like Hines, senior quarterback Kadon Harrison and senior receiver De’Andre Angelle.
Hines is fourth in District 22-5A with 365 yards on 36 carries with five touchdowns. Harrison is third in passing with 458 yards on 34-of-44 passing with five touchdowns and two interceptions.
Angelle has 186 yards on 10 receptions with four touchdowns.
Angelle seems to be playing with a chip on his shoulder since many college coaches are not offering him a scholarship.
“A lot of those coaches are not looking past his size,” Coach Harrison said of his 5-9, 165-pound receiver. “I wish they were not, but then again I love having him play with a chip on his shoulder. I hope he gets a big-time offer and then keeps playing the way he is playing because De’Andre Angelle is one of the most explosive players we have ever had here at Memorial High School.”

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About Gabriel Pruett

Gabriel Pruett has worked with both the Port Arthur News and Orange Leader since 2000. A majority of the time has been spent covering all aspects of Southeast Texas high school sports. Pruett's claim to fame is...being able to write his own biographical information for this website.

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