Titans used to fast starts
• Memorial: 347.8 yards per game (148.8 rushing, 199 passing); leaders Elijah Hines (junior RB, 505 yards on 59 carries with 5 touchdowns) and Kadon Harrison (senior QB, 933 yards on 65-of-88 passing with 14 touchdowns and 2 interceptions)
• Lumberton: 412.6 yards per game (301.8 rushing, 110.8 passing; leaders Brett Marcantel (senior QB, 852 yards on 41-of-98 passing with 8 touchdowns and 9 interceptions and 530 yards on 69 carries with 8 touchdowns) and Kain Dear (senior RB, 264 yards on 27 carries with 4 touchdowns)
• Memorial: 162.2 yards per game (59.4 rushing, 102.8 passing); leaders Kary Vincent Jr. (senior CB, 5 interceptions with 2 touchdowns)
• Lumberton: 357.6 yards per game (223.2 rushing, 134.4 passing)
• Memorial coach Kenny Harrison, on facing Lumberton for the first time: “We don’t know much about them. We do know they were a playoff team last year and the one thing I have picked up about them on film is the same thing I know about every team in this district; they play extremely hard for 48 minutes. That is the same for every team in this district.”
• Lumberton coach Chris Babin: “We are preparing like we do for anyone else. Our defense is preparing for their spread offense because we face it several times a year. There is not much we can do to prepare for their speed. There are several things we can’t simulate in practice. There has been some separation at the top of the district with Vidor, PNG and Memorial. That fourth spot is really up for grabs. There is a lot that can happen with the teams stuck in the middle. If we drop two of our next four we are probably out. There are scenarios both for and against us if we win three of our next four.”
Port Arthur Memorial coach Kenny Harrison knows his Titans can start a game off fast.
He has seen it the last two games in District 22-5A. What Harrison is waiting to see is the Titans sustain the fast start in the second quarter.
Memorial put up 21 points two weeks ago in the first quarter in a 62-0 win over Ozen. Last week, the Titans scored 28 points in a 42-12 victory against Nederland.
The problem came in the second quarter of both contests when the Titans scored no points. Nederland scored 12 in the second quarter last week.
“Thank goodness for the starts we have got the last two games,” Harrison said. “We have gotten off to fast starts and we tell our kids that is very important. We needed to remind them when we do get off to a fast start they have to maintain it. Hopefully, all the practice we have put into that this week pays off.”
Lumberton sure hopes not. The Titans pay visit to Raider Stadium for their first-ever game against Lumberton.
“The last two games we have had a lot of success in the first quarter and then had a dropoff in the second quarter,” Harrison said. “We have some things we have put in place to help with that, and we feel good about it. A lot of that has to do with teams making adjustments and then we come back in the third quarter and make our adjustments.”
Memorial scored 27 points in the third quarter and 14 in the fourth against Ozen and scored a touchdown in both the third and fourth against Nederland. Both the Panthers and Bulldogs went scoreless against the Titans in the second half.
A lot of that success has to do with a now-stingy Memorial defense. Kary Vincent Jr., who has five interceptions in the last four games, leads the Titans defense but he is not alone.
“[Defensive lineman] Kainen Collins and [linebacker] Odis Mack are two seniors who are really bringing it this year,” Harrison said. “That is the way both of those practice and it really shows in games. They have stepped up from a defensive standpoint.”
Harrison also said Kobi Nixon, Kameron Nixon and Torello Atkins have also shined on defense.
“All those guys have embraced the challenge of being a solid defense after what happened last year,” Harrison said. “They feel they have a lot to prove.”
The Titans’ defense will be challenged tonight to stop Lumberton quarterback Brett Marcantel. He has thrown for 852 yards, rushed for 530 yards and has a total of 16 touchdowns.
“He is a very athletic, hard-nosed young man,” Harrison said of Marcantel. He does not shy away from contact and he makes them go. We are going to have to key him and try to contain him. You can’t stop him, but you try to limit the big plays he makes.”
Gabriel Pruett: 721-2436. Twitter: @PaNewsGabe
22-5A FOOTBALL: PA MEMORIAL (4-0) AT LUMBERTON (2-3)
• When: 7 tonight
• Where: Raider Stadium
• Radio: KOLE-AM 1340 (simulcast on KVAP-FM 95.5)
• 22-5A records: Memorial 3-0, Lumberton 1-3
• Series record: First meeting