Titans playing best football as regular season nears its finish

Published 12:30 am Friday, October 29, 2021

With two games left in the season, Memorial Head Coach Brian Morgan said his team is playing their best football.

The Titans (7-1, 5-0 in District 9-5A Division I) enter Friday’s game against Baytown Sterling (4-4, 2-3) with the most explosive offense and one of the best defenses in the district.

The game is set for 7 p.m. Friday at Memorial Stadium and will be the Titans’ final home game of the regular season. However, the Titans will host a first-round playoff game.

With two regular season games remaining, Memorial has clinched a playoff spot and could clinch the district championship with a win and a Friday loss by Friendswood. If both teams win, it sets up a showdown for the district crown next week when the two teams meet.

Morgan said his team has to stay focused on Sterling this week.

“We talk about following the blueprint and just repeating the process every week,” he said. “The players don’t really buy into the rest of the stuff that is going on.”

The coach said his team is hitting a stride similar to last year when the offense and defense stepped up.

“I think we are at that point. You have a few guys who this is their first year starting. Now, they have four or five games under their belts. We have a couple of those guys on the offensive line and skill positions. Also, through those games you learn a little more about your team. You learn what players are good at a particular skill. Maybe one guy runs a certain route really well. Maybe a guy is not good at this coverage. We figure out what works.”

The Titans are averaging 511 yards of offense per game, while no other team in the district is averaging more than 325. As a point of reference, last year’s Memorial team that went undefeated in the regular season averaged 443 yards per game. This year’s defense has allowed 180 yards per game compared to last year’s squad that allowed 224.

Memorial quarterback Jah’mar Sanders leads the district in rushing yards (1,222), passing yards (1,816) and total touchdowns with 31. Receivers Ilijah Williams, Kelby Blanchette and running back Adrian Hayward lead the district in receiving yards. Memorial safety Devuan Davenport leads the district in interceptions with three. Linebacker Jayden Fisher leads the district in tackles for loss with 22.

Morgan said his team is focused on the little details as the season ends.

“We are focusing on things like ball security,” he said. “We are looking at creating turnovers and squeezing blocks. It is little stuff like that, but it plays big. One thing we are also focusing on is the last drive before the half and coming out of the half. All year, we have kind of had a mental lapse there and I’m not sure you can really practice that.”

Sterling is led by quarterback Reece Sylvester, who is second in the district in rushing yards with 842 and rushing touchdowns (14). Morgan said Sylvester is a dynamic playmaker similar to Sanders. He added the defense doesn’t get to practice against Sanders at full speed.

“They aren’t allowed to tackle him,” he said laughing. “We don’t call designed runs for him at practice and there are a lot of quick whistles.”