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FOOTBALL: Opposites attract in Titans vs. Wolves

Memorial (2-0) at Beaumont United (0-2)

• Prep football; 6 p.m. Saturday, Beaumont ISD Memorial Stadium; www.lsnsports.com

Branden Chaney of Memorial, taking a handoff from quarterback Kam Ladia, has rushed for more than 100 yards in both games this season. (Jereem Augustine/Special to The News)

Beaumont United quarterback Xzavier Vaughn will get the starting nod again at home against Memorial. (Brian Vincent/Special to The News)


Brian Morgan’s message of the week to his 2-0 Memorial football team has been to not let Beaumont United’s 0-2 record fool them.

“They’re a much better team than 0-2, and that’s what I’ve got to convince our kids of,” Morgan said. “They’ve played [Houston] St. Pius [X], which is really talented, and they played Nederland, who we saw a couple of weeks beforehand [in a scrimmage]. They’re a much better team than 0-2. They’re very athletic. They play hard. Coach Louis will have them ready to play.

“It won’t be an issue with motivation. Their kids will be up. Everybody is up for Port Arthur and Beaumont.”

Saturday marks the first meeting between two (fairly) young high schools — one that just began classes last month and the other that’s seen its share of success since its 2002 establishment, but United coach Arthur Louis contends the inner-county proximity between two schools — let alone two cities — does not add any extra juice to the game.

“It’s just another game,” he said.

Memorial has won six straight against Beaumont ISD teams, with Ozen the last from the district to beat the Titans in the 2015 season opener, 31-30 in Port Arthur. Ozen and Central combined to form Beaumont United primarily because of extensive damage to Central’s campus from Tropical Storm Harvey.

Neither of the combining schools made the UIL playoffs last season. Central went 4-4, all in district play with the non-district games washed out, after forfeiting a win over Ozen due to an ineligible player. Ozen was 3-5 with the forfeit win.

The joined forces now known as the Timberwolves have yet to win. Asked what obstacles United has faced, Louis said:

“Nothing, none. We played two very good teams. You know, just trying to get there. These kids are working very hard. They bought into one heartbeat, the Timberwolf way. They are a great group of kids giving great effort.”

The Wolves have lost 55-21 at home against St. Pius X and 33-14 at Nederland, not scoring more than seven points in any of the past eight quarters.

“I need to put together two halves, offensively,” Louis said. “The defense played one hell of a half against Nederland, and the offense did nothing. Then, it flipped over. Just [need] to put it all together.”

Louis is concerned with the Titans’ all-around speed and senior-laden defense. The Wolves’ defense will get a big test from sophomore running back Branden Chaney, who has 230 yards rushing and two touchdowns in two games.

“Whatever they give us, we’re going to take it,” Morgan said. “If it’s running or throwing, we’re fortunate we’ve got a quarterback [senior Kam Ladia] who can throw it around pretty good. We’ve got some skill guys out wide, and we’ve got some backs.

“Week-to-week, it’s based on what they give us. Last week was very much a run game for us. That was the game plan. The week before, we were able to throw it around more.”

The daily rain has not kept the Titans from practicing on their home turf, but Louis hopes weather will hold up in Beaumont on Saturday night because it’s interrupted the Wolves’ practice plans this week.

“We practiced this one time, and that was [Thursday],” Louis said just after noon Friday. “We’re looking forward to it. Home game.”



Legacy Sports Network is streaming every Memorial football game via audio broadcast, with coverage starting 15 minutes before kickoff. The website for the live stream is www.lsnsports.com.

I.C. Murrell: 721-2435. 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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