Game between Titans, Ganders comes down to final drive

Published 11:15 pm Friday, October 21, 2022

BAYTOWN – Baytown Lee scored two fourth quarter touchdowns to shock 4th-ranked Memorial, handing the Titans their first loss of the season with a 28-24 win Friday night in District 8-5A Division I action at Stallworth Stadium.

“We didn’t play well enough,” said Memorial coach Brian Morgan after the game. “We can put it on a lot of things. We didn’t practice much this week because we had a lot of the flu running through the team. Yesterday (Thursday) was really our first practice of the week.

“We did a lot of things wrong that you have to do to win games. We turned the ball over, which you can’t do. We didn’t play some things right in the run game when it counted at the end. But we still had a chance at the end of the game. We needed to make a play and didn’t get it. That’s part of it. You have to come out and play.”

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Training 24-14 to start the fourth quarter, Lee together a 91-yard scoring drive. Josiah Joseph, who entered at quarterback when Levey Duncan Jr. left briefly with an injury, jump started the drive with a 42 yard run to the Memorial 45.

Radavion Taylor had an 11-yard run and Duncan Jr. came back into the game and had an 18-yard run to the Titans 18. Memorial was flagged for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty to give the Ganders a first-and-goal at the 5. Duncan Jr. hit Josh Marquez for a 4-yard touchdown to pull Lee within a field goal at 24-21 with 6:03 left in the game.

Memorial (7-1, 5-1) went three-and-out on its ensuing possession and was forced to punt. The Titans 30-yard punt was returned 30 yards to the Memorial 25, giving Lee great field position for its go-ahead drive.

The Titans again were plagued with a bad penalty, this time 15 yards for a late hit out of bounds to give the Ganders a first down at the Memorial 22. Three consecutive runs by Duncan Jr. netted another first down at the 12. Two plays later, Duncan Jr. hit Devante Broussard for an 8-yard TD pass to put Lee up 28-24 with 1:03 left in regulation.

Memorial mounted a last second drive. Davion Wilson hit Ja’Quan Holmes for 21 yards to the Lee 35. Wilson connected with Najiya Green for 14 yards to the 21. Wilson’s final two passes were incomplete out of the back of the end zone to end the game.

Trailing 17-7, Lee took the second half kickoff and marched down the field for a score. Duncan Jr. had a 30-yard run to the Titans 22. Duncan Jr. followed with consecutive runs of 4, 9 and 12 yards to the 1. He called his own number for a 1-yard TD to make the score 17-14 with 8:37 left in the third quarter.

Memorial answered right back on its first possession of the second half. Aided by 20 yards in penalties against Lee, Wilson hit Caleb Goodie for a 10-yard completion to the Ganders 9. Wilson followed with a 9-yard scoring strike to Green to push the Titans lead to 24-14 with 4:49 left in the third quarter.

“Turnovers was the story of the night,” said Morgan. “We didn’t play good at any position. We had some guys that weren’t able to practice much this week and it showed tonight. It’s not an excuse. We just didn’t play well enough. They won the game and played well.”

Memorial took the opening kickoff and drove straight down the field with a nice mix of passing and running plays. Wilson hit Goodie for a 14-yard completion and followed with an 11-yard completion to Ja’Quan Holmes.

Ja’coryn Baker had an 11-yard run and Joshua Neal added runs of 12 and 14 yards. Sandwiched in between was a 22-yard run by Wilson. The drive stalled at the Lee 6 and the Titans had to settle for a 23-yard field goal by Luis Blanco to give Memorial a quick 3-0 lead.

Both teams struggled with turnovers, negative plays, and turnovers the rest of the first half. Lee’s first possession ended with a bad snap on a punt that led to Memorial getting the ball at the Ganders 15.

However, the Titans couldn’t take advantage of the gift field position. On third-and-three, Wilson hit Goodie on a bubble screen and Goodie fumbled the ball. Josiah Joseph scooped up the ball and raced 86 yards to the Memorial 4.

Lee quarterback Levey Duncan Jr. called his own number twice, gaining three yards on the first attempt and scoring on a 1-yard run to give Lee a 7-3 lead with 3:14 left in the first quarter.

The Titans had another good drive going on the ensuing possession. Baker started the drive with an 11-yard run and Wilson hit Holmes for a 13-yard completion. However, Neal fumbled two plays later.

Lee finally returned the favor as Duncan Jr. coughed up the ball for the Ganders, which was recovered by the Titans Taveon Chatman at the Lee 46.

Memorial didn’t waste this opportunity. Following a Baker 12-yard run, Wilson hit Goodie on a 28-yard scoring strike to give the Titans the lead at 10-7 with 1:26 left in the second quarter.

The Titans turned up the defense, trying to get the ball back before halftime. Duncan Jr. raced up the middle for 16 yards on third-and-20. Lee tried a little trickery, looking like they were going to punt from its own 31 and instead lined up to run a play on fourth down. The snap sailed over Duncan Jr.’s head for a loss of 20 yards.

Taking over at the Lee 11 with :44 left in the half, Wilson hit Najiya Green on a 7-yard touchdown pass with 18 seconds left to give the Titans a 17-7 halftime lead.

The play of the game was… Lee’s Levey Duncan Jr. hitting Devante Broussard for an 8-yard touchdown that gave the Ganders a 28-24 lead with 1:03 left in the game.

The game ball goes to… Lee quarterback Levey Duncan Jr. who completed 6 of 9 passes for 25 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for a game-high 103 yards and two touchdowns.

Key stats… Ja’coryn Baker led Memorial with 63 yards rushing on 14 carries. Davion Wilson completed 17 of 30 passes for 174 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed for 45 yards on eight carries. He was also intercepted twice, and the Titans fumbled the ball three times for a total of five turnovers. Ja’Quan Holmes had six catches for 57 yards. Caleb Goodie had five catches for 50 yards and 1 TD. Najiya Green had four catches for 35 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Up next… Memorial returns home to host Barbers Hill in a key district battle next Friday. It’s the Titans final regular season home game. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. Baytown Lee hits the road next Friday for a 7 p.m. game at New Caney Porter.

Written by Daucy Crizer