Memorial coach knew teams would try to hold ball, explains how Titans defense rebounded against Sterling

Published 12:34 am Saturday, September 24, 2022

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Memorial Head Coach Brian Morgan said teams would likely try to replicate Porter’s strategy of keeping the ball away from the Titans’ high-powered offense. Last week, Porter was able to keep the game close with an efficient run game, but the Titans ultimately prevailed 18-17.

While Baytown Sterling went into Thursday’s game against Memorial with the same strategy, the Titans appeared to make a resounding statement about the strategy with a 47-7 win over the Rangers.

Memorial’s smothering defense held Sterling just 45 yards of total offense (62 passing and minus-17 rushing).

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“I thought we learned our lesson from last week and we came out and played fast,” said Memorial head coach Brian Morgan. “They (Sterling) had the same game plan as Porter last week, trying to hold the ball from us. But our defense stayed the course.

“I thought it was good that we scored before halftime and then came out and scored right after half, which was a goal for us.”

The Titans secondary entered the game with 10 interceptions on the season and added three more to the total.

Titans’ safety Daevon Iles, who has recorded at least turnover in each of Memorial’s four games this season, entered the game leading the district in interceptions with four. He added to that tally Thursday.

In the first quarter against Sterling, Iles picked off his fifth pass of the season, putting the ball in the Titans’ hands on the Rangers 38, which set up Memorial’s first score.

He wasn’t the only member of the secondary to walk away with pick. On the first snap of the second half, senior safety Jacori Smith-Jackson intercepted a ball and returned it 57 yards for a touchdown to give the Titans a 34-0 lead. Later in the second half, Smith-Jackson came up with another pick on a deep ball.

“They (defense) played really, really hard,” said Morgan. “We tackled well. We didn’t give up anything in the running game. We got our hands on some balls and we scored again on defense. All around good effort.”

The Titans defense was not the only unit to put on a performance. Memorial quarterback Davion Wilson and receiver Caleb Goodie connected five times for 105 yards and a touchdown. Wilson might have had his best game as a Titan, completing 17 of 21 passes for 224 yards and three touchdowns. He also recorded 54 rushing yards on eight carries.

“The last couple of weeks, I think Davion (Wilson) was trying to do too much running the ball,” Morgan said of getting the passing game going more Thursday night. “He’s a really good thrower and we have good players. We have a bunch of really good skill players. Spreading the ball around early is going to help open up the running game later.”

The Titans will host Crosby next week with the kickoff scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday at Memorial Stadium.

Daucy Crizer contributed to this story.