Memorial Titans fly past Ganders in Thursday night district matchup

Published 12:36 am Friday, October 22, 2021

BAYTOWN – Memorial, facing its toughest test in district play, at least on paper, used a balanced offensive attack in cruising to a 51-20 win over Lee Thursday night in District 9-5A action at Stallworth Stadium.

This was a matchup of the top two teams in the district, with the Titans sporting a 4-0 mark and the Ganders at 3-1, but it wasn’t much of a contest as Memorial rolled up 633 yards of total offense. And it was one of their more balanced attacks with 366 yards rushing and 267 yards passing.

“I thought our guys came out and played good. We had a short week and they responded well,” said Memorial coach Brian Morgan.

“We knew they (Lee) had some talented skill guys on offense. They went out and made a play early and our guys responded and didn’t flinch. Overall, a pretty solid performance.”

MORE COVERAGE: Nederland & PNG would benefit from Bulldogs win over Eagles.

Both teams turned the ball over on downs to start the third quarter. Lee mounted a scoring drive on its second possession. Ja’Corey Boston hit Trudell Berry for a 26-yard touchdown. The extra point was blocked to make the score 31-20 in favor of Memorial.

The Titans (7-1, 5-0) answered right back with a three-play drive. Quarterback Jah’mar Sanders ran for 11 yards and 9 yards. Sanders then hit Ilijah Williams for a 49-yard scoring strike to push the lead to 38-20 with 4:41 left in the third quarter.

The Titans kept punishing the Ganders with a strong rushing attack. Adrian Hayward scored on a 21-yard touchdown run with 10:00 left in the fourth quarter to extend the lead to 45-20. Kendrick Sam’s 51-yard run closed out the scoring with 6:20 left in the game to provide the final margin of 51-20.

“We just took what the defense gave us,” said Morgan of the Titans balanced offense. “Jah’mar did a good job of taking what they gave him. We had some quick screen stuff early, which they were giving us, plus he was getting his runs in. Later, he was able to throw some over the top.”

MORE COVERAGE: Ball control key for Port Neches-Groves against Crosby.

Memorial received the opening kickoff and needed just two plays to score the game’s first points. Adrian Hayward rushed for seven yards on the first play from scrimmage. Sanders followed with a 47-yard touchdown run to put the Titans up 7-0 with 11:13 left in the first quarter.

Lee (6-2, 3-2) answered right back. Da’Qorwyn Robertson rushed for 10 yards on the Ganders’ first play. Three plays later on third-and-nine, Ja’Corey Boston hit Devante Broussard for a 61-yard touchdown. The extra point was no good to make the score 7-6 Titans with 9:50 left in the opening quarter.

The Titans turned the ball over on downs at the Lee 25 on their next possession. Memorial’s defense forced a punt by the Ganders on their next possession.

Memorial’s ensuing possession produced another quick drive for a score. On the drive’s third play, Sanders hit Kelby Blanchett for a 74-yard scoring strike to put the Titans up 14-6 with 2:43 left in the first quarter.

Lee turned the ball over on downs on its next possession. Memorial drove down inside the Ganders 10. However, the drive stalled, and the Titans had to settle for a 25-yard field goal to extend the lead to 17-6 with 9:12 left in the second quarter.

Memorial’s defense forced another Lee punt. Sanders rushed for 23 yards on the drive’s first play. After an incomplete pass, Sanders scored on a 33-yard run to give the Titans a 24-6 lead with 7:27 left in the second quarter.

The Ganders took advantage a fumbled punt return by John Mayon. Lee would go on to put together a scoring drive. Lee scored on a 7-yard touchdown pass from Boston to Broussard with 1:59 left in the second quarter. The 2-point conversion was good to make the score 24-14.

The Titans put together a final scoring of the first half. Sanders hit Hayward on a screen pass that went for 79 yards to the Lee 8.

Hayward fumbled when he was tackled, and the ball was recovered in the end zone by Marcus Hayes to give Memorial a 31-14 lead at halftime.

THE PLAY OF THE GAME WAS…Marcus Hayes’ fumble recovery in the end zone with 1:02 left in the first half. Adrian Hayward turned a screen pass into a 79-yard gain but fumbled into the end zone when he was tackled. Hayes was there to recover for the Titans. That play was on the heels of Lee scoring with 1:59 left in the second quarter and squashed any momentum the Ganders would take into the locker room at halftime.

THE GAME BALL GOES TO…Jah’mar Sanders, who rushed for 167 yards on 15 carries with two touchdowns. He also completed 10 of 18 passes for 267 yards two touchdowns.

KEY STATS…Adrian Hayward rushed nine times for 81 yards and 1 TD. Kendrick Sam rushed for 59 yards on three carries and 1 TD. Kelby Blanchett had three catches for 96 yards and a TD and Ilijah Williams added four catches for 58 yards and a TD.

Lee’s Ja’Corey Boston completed 13 of 32 passes for 202 yards and three TDs. He also rushed 14 times for 37 yards. Devante Broussard caught eight passes for 156 yards and two TDs.

UP NEXT…Memorial returns home to host Baytown Sterling in the final regular season home game next Friday. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. for Senior Night. Baytown Lee stays home to host Beaumont United next Friday at 7 p.m.

— By Daucy Crizer