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Playing four quarters: Memorial working on technique ahead of Friday

Technique and execution — that’s what it’s going to take going into Friday’s game against the Porter Spartans at Randall Reed Stadium in New Caney, according to Memorial Titans senior defensive lineman Keoni Evans.

“We most definitely have to work on execution and playing for four quarters, and I think we did better last week,” Evans said. “But this week we have to work on making sure we’re doing our techniques and doing what our coaches are telling us throughout the whole game.

“I’m pretty sure if we did that, we will come out on top.”

After a humbling 42-12 loss to New Caney (6-0, 3-0 in 9-5A-I) last week, the Titans (3-3, 2-1 in 9-5A-I) are facing New Caney’s neighbor, Porter, which also lies in the New Caney Independent School District, and Memorial is playing on their turf, too.

The Spartans (5-1, 3-0 in 9-5A-I) are the only other team in the district at the top of the rankings who haven’t lost a district game yet, their sole non-district loss coming at the hands of the C.E. King Panthers (4-2, 1-2 in 21-6A) in Week 1.

“They’re solid, they’ve got a few good players on each side of the ball and they look good on film,” Titans head coach Brian Morgan said. “I’ve seen them play a couple of times live and I’ve seen a bunch of film. They’re going to be a good football team.”

The Titans found some rhythm in the second half against New Caney after a series of fast carries from junior running back Branden Chaney ended in a touchdown — minus the extra point — in the third quarter, and another touchdown came after a 41-yard pass toy senior wide receiver Alex Ned in the fourth — also minus an extra point.

Unfortunately, by the time Memorial made it on the scoreboard, New Caney had four touchdowns of their own, all scored in the first half.

Evans says the team is working to ensure everyone makes their plays every quarter, not just the second half. The defense is specifically working on speed.

“This week we’re really working on getting off the ball a little quicker so we could be able out work the offensive line, because they move kind of slow,” he said. “Technique and speed on the defensive line, that’s what we’re working on.”

Morgan agrees making plays needs to be more consistent.

“We talked about playing complementary football, and we did not do a good job of that,” he said. “First we got a fumble, then we had pressure on the quarterback and made him throw early, and for the second one the receiver had a chance to make a play, and (New Caney) made a better play than we did. That’s just how it is. You’ve got to play complementary football.”

Chaney believes the Titans will have their game together by Friday.

“We’ve just got to get the whole line moving,” he said. “We know it’s a big game coming up, and I think we’re going to be ready.”

Chaney credits the blocking from the Titans’ offensive line for his touchdown, which improved enough in the second half for Memorial to rack up its own yards. The Titans gained 171 yards in the second half, compared to 53 in the first.

Morgan also credits his players for the good plays they made, including two turnovers after New Caney fumbles.

“Our kids played hard, they did some things well, they handled adversity really well, and that was good to see, but at the same time we didn’t execute, and (New Caney) executed better than us,” he said.

Chaney is optimistic.

“I’m going into this game with a positive mindset and a great attitude,” he said.