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Revenge denied: Last-minute drive ends Titans’ hopes

Wildcats 33, Titans 29

Memorial 12 0 6 11 — 29

Temple 6 14 0 13 — 33

First quarter

Mem — Xavier Hull 73 pass from Keitha Jones (kick failed), 6:32

Tem — Xavier Johnson 96 kickoff return (kick failed), 6:13

Mem — Jones 33 run (kick failed), 3:51

Second quarter

Tem — D’Yonte Heckstall 23 pass from T.J. Rumfield (Aaron Wagaman kick), 11:29

Tem — Johnson 27 pass from Rumfield (Wagaman kick), 2:39

Third quarter

Mem — Jones 3 run (pass failed), 7:20

Fourth quarter

Tem — Zion Leach 1 run (kick failed), 7:47

Mem — Hull 91 kickoff return (Jones run), 7:28

Mem — Kenny Pham 25 field goal, 0:54

Tem — Leach 1 run (Jared Wiley kick), 0:22

Mem Tem

First downs 17 14

Rushes-yards 43-154 26-95

Passing yards 218 226

Comp.-Att.-Int. 10-26-0 19-30-1

Punts-average 6-23.7 5-38.6

Fumbles-lost 1-0 1-1

Penalties-yards 6-49 5-40

Individual statistics

RUSHING — Memorial: Elijah Hines 24-103, Jones 19-51; Temple: De’Jon Overton 16-50, Anthony Jackson 4-32, Leach 6-13.

PASSING — Memorial: Jones 10-25-0-218, team 0-1-0-0Temple: Rumfield 19-29-1-226, Wiley 0-1-0-0.

RECEIVING — Memorial: Hull 3-111, James Francis 3-65, Kenneth Washington 3-33, Teajawon Mack 1-9Temple: X. Johnson 7-138, Heckstall 4-49, Keion Johnson 4-14, Jackson 1-13, Wiley 3-12.

PRAIRIE VIEW — Fifty-four seconds were all that stood between Port Arthur Memorial and a trip to the 5A Division I Region III championship game.

Temple needed only 32 seconds to answer.

Xavier Johnson caught a 42-yard pass from T.J. Rumfield to the Memorial 2, and Zion Leach punched in the winning touchdown run on the next play, allowing the Wildcats to eliminate Memorial for the second straight season, 33-29, at Prairie View A&M’s Panther Stadium on Friday night.

Memorial, the District 22-5A co-champion, ended its season at 9-2. Temple (10-3), last year’s state runner-up, will take on Manvel for the second year in a row at 7:30 p.m. next Friday at PV in the regional final. Manvel beat Cedar Park 56-17 just down the road in Waller.

Senior wide receiver Xavier Hull appeared to have done everything possible to keep the Titans’ season alive. Following a touchdown that expanded Temple’s lead to 26-18, Hull returned the following kickoff 91 yards for the answer with 7:28 left. Quarterback Keitha Jones kept the ball for the extra two points after Temple was flagged for pass interference.

Memorial’s defense did its part, forcing a three-and-out. Then on its next offensive series, Hull ducked in front of his defender and came up with a 35-yard catch from Jones to the Temple 18 on third-and-10.

Kenny Pham, who had missed two extra-point tries in the first quarter, converted a 25-yard field goal with 54 seconds left, giving the Titans a 29-26 lead.

Then came the Wildcats.

Rumfield, who had 226 yards on 19 of 29 passing with a Javontae’ Hopkins interception, connected with Jared Wiley for 6 yards before his big pass to Johnson, who finished with seven carries for 138 yards. Jones, on his final drive, completed a 3-yard pass to Hull and spiked the ball with 4 seconds remaining, but threw incomplete as time expired.

Jones completed 10 of 25 for 218 yards and ran 19 times for 51 yards. The SMU recruit had a 33-yard touchdown run that gave the Titans a 12-6 lead.

It was part of a back-and-forth opening to this rematch of last year’s 39-7 Temple win. Hull (three catches, 111 yards) got the party started with a 73-yard TD reception on the Titans’ second drive.

Johnson turned in his own kick-six, taking back the ensuing boot 96 yards for the tie. The extra points were missed on the first three TDs combined.

Hull came up big in just his fifth game with the Titans this season since Tropical Storm Harvey relocated him to The Woodlands. His big catch came less than 6 minutes into the contest on the Titans’ second drive.

Temple seemed to take control in the second quarter with two Rumfield touchdown passes to D’Yonte Heckstall (for 23 yards) and Johnson (for 27).

Memorial cornerback Greg Laday forced a key fumble on Temple’s opening possession of the second half by stripping Johnson on a reception, giving the Titans the ball at Temple’s 46. Jones then threw a 9-yard pass to Teajawon Mack and kept the ball 4 yards for first downs before finishing off the drive with a 3-yard keeper.

Monto President deflected a two-point pass attempt, protecting Temple’s lead.

A sure touchdown dropped in the end zone by Temple led to a missed 27-yard field goal by Aaron Wagaman with 11:42 left in the game. Memorial, however, was stuffed on its next series, and Temple expanded its lead to 26-18 on Leach’s 1-yard run with 7:47 left. Wagaman shanked the extra-point try.

And Hull made the Wildcats pay with his 91-yard take back.

Senior Elijah Hines finished with 24 carries for 103 yards for Memorial.

I.C. Murrell: 549-8541. Twitter: @ICMurrellPANews




About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

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