Five stars: Hines’ TD runs, 303 yards enough for Titans to hold on

Published 12:55 am Saturday, October 15, 2016

And then, there was one.

Port Arthur Memorial remained the only undefeated team in District 22-5A with a thrilling 33-28 victory over Port Neches-Groves Friday.

The Titans (6-0, 5-0 in 22-5A) rode the legs of junior running back Elijah Hines to the tune of 303 yards on 31 carries and five touchdowns.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“This is the game we wanted all season,” Hines said. “It feels good to come out here and do what we did tonight.”

Later Friday, Hines tweeted he received an offer from Lamar.

To put Hines’ night into historical perspective, Kansas City Chiefs running back and 2005 Memorial graduate Jamaal Charles holds the Titans’ single-game record for rushing yards at 400 against Houston Westfield in 2004.

Hines scored three of his touchdowns in the third quarter alone as the Titans turned a 7-7 halftime score into a 27-14 advantage going into the fourth. He then scored three seconds into the fourth.

“Tonight was a very special night for that young man,” Memorial coach Kenny Harrison said. “He is an unique young man. He comes to work every day.”

The loss was the first for PNG, which is now 6-1 overall and 4-1 in District 22-5A play.

PNG fell behind by 19, only to score twice in the fourth quarter to pull to within five points.

Sophomore quarterback Roschon Johnson threw for 182 yards on 9-of-21 passing and ran for 93 yards on 19 carries with three touchdowns.

His last touchdown came with 35 seconds left in the game and set up an onside kick situation. The Titans recovered to end the threat.

“Port Arthur Memorial has a great team, that is the first thing I think,” PNG coach Brandon Faircloth said. “All the credit in the world to their team and coaches. We just came up a little short. The thing I am most proud about is our kids never gave up. I think our kids made PNG proud tonight. This type of game will make you better.”

The game felt like a playoff game due to the sellout crowd. It was the first time a Port Arthur team played PNG since 2001.

“It was an incredible high school football game,” Faircloth added. “We just need to find a way to get five more points next time.”

Harrison was also thrilled with the crowds on both sides that came out to watch a game that lived up to the hype.

“This type of game was big for our kids and big for our community,” Harrison said. “I am just ecstatic for our kids to play in a game like this. I think every kid that grows up wanting to play high school football wants to play in an environment like this.”

The Indians only led once in the game, and it came off an interception return for a touchdown by PNG defensive back Austin Bost. He ran in from 16 yards out to give PNG a 14-13 lead with 7:33 left in the third.

The lead did not last long.

Hines took the very next snap 66 yards for a Memorial touchdown. A successful two point conversion made it 21-14.

Hines scored again in the third on a 55-yard run.

“We are No. 1 in district,” Hines said. “I felt like we dominated from Point A to Point B. The offensive line did a great job tonight opening holes for me. We had some fun tonight.”

LSU commit and Memorial senior cornerback Kary Vincent Jr. did make his presence felt with an interception. It was his District 22-5A-leading sixth pick of the season.

“It is a great feeling,” Harrison said about his team being undefeated. “We kept looking at the standings and at first Vidor and Port Neches-Groves were right there with us undefeated, but now we control our own destiny. We are going to turn our focus over to Livingston.”

Gabriel Pruett: 721-2436. Twitter: @PaNewsGabe

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.

email author More by Gabriel