CHRIS MOORE — Ousted playoff teams should hold heads high

Published 12:04 am Wednesday, December 16, 2020

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After a crushing week for Southeast Texas 5A football, the Nederland Bulldogs stand alone as the only area team remaining in the playoffs.

While Port Neches-Groves and Memorial saw their seasons end too soon, coaches and players from both schools deserve credit for what they were able to accomplish this year.

The Memorial Titans completed the first undefeated regular season in school history. I know that right now, no one, especially the coaches and players, wants to here about moral victories. However, that undefeated season will go on a banner on a wall and be there as long as there is a Memorial High School.

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Coaches and players will become old men who can look at that banner and know they were part of Port Arthur history.

This wasn’t the 2018 loss. This team was not the Titans of 2018 that lost due to a lack of discipline. I watched that team rack up unsportsmanlike conduct penalties that cost them games, most notably against New Caney, where they racked up more than 200 yards in penalties.

This year’s team was poised, while still being incredibly young. This team faced adversity and overcame it every single time. In Friday’s 5A Division I bi-district loss to Fort Bend Hightower, the Titans did not lose because of a lack of discipline. They lost because the other team made a play.

This team will be back next year. Out of the 42-man roster, only 14 are seniors, nine of which were starters.

PNG made the playoffs after winning a must-have game at the end of the season and getting help with a Texas City loss. As the 4-seed in 5A Division II, the Indians played Fort Bend Marshall, which was not only the No. 1 seed in District 11-5A Division II, but also ranked in the top five in the state.

Marshall’s high-powered offense averaged more than 60 points per game in district and PNG’s defense struggled with tackling all year long.

The PNG coaching staff and players came up with a simple but effective game plan. Marshall could not score if it did not have the ball.

PNG routinely held the ball, ticking away as many seconds on the play clock as possible before the snap. The Indians converted fourth downs and kept the chains moving and scored. Even as the Marshall offense revved up and scored in fewer than two minutes, PNG stuck with the plan, eating clock.

While the Indians came up short in a 21-14 decision, they played the Buffalos as well as anyone.

Senior quarterback Blake Bost had a noteworthy season, leading the district, by a lot, in passing yards and touchdowns.

Everyone’s season ends at some point. For PNG and Memorial, it was too soon, but that is no reason to not consider the season a victory in some aspects. After the game, PNG head coach Brandon Faircloth said high school football should teach kids about life and create memories. Both teams accomplished that goal.

Chris Moore is the sports editor of Port Arthur Newsmedia. He can be reached at