Titans back to full strength after losing 1st game; still control own path in district

Published 12:34 am Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Even after a crazy week for the Memorial football program, the hopes for a district title and No. 1 seed in the upcoming playoffs are intact.

The Titans were hit hard with the flu last week, leaving them with sparse numbers at practice prior to their loss to Baytown Lee Friday. Head Coach Brian Morgan said roughly a third of the team’s starters played Friday after not practicing all week. He also said the team didn’t play well enough to win.

“I feel like that game brought some things to light and showed us what we have to get cleaned up,” he said. “We will be fine.”

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The Titans (7-1, 5-1 in District 8-5A Division II) take on Barbers Hill (6-2, 5-1) this week at Memorial Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. Friday.

The Eagles are coming off a 42-21 win over Kingwood Park, which currently sits atop the district.

This week’s game features the top two offenses in the district. Both teams are the only ones to average more than 400 yards per game in the district.

While the Eagles offense can put up numbers, their strength, which is the passing game, could play into the Titans’ favor. The Memorial defense is also tops in the district and has forced 17 interceptions.

That likely won’t deter Barbers Hill, who has thrown the ball 250 times this year. For reference, that is more than 50 times more than the next highest pass attempts and an average of 31 passes per game.

Eagles quarterback Cody Fuentes is completing 61 percent of his passes for 1,901 yards, 24 touchdowns and seven interceptions.

“Obviously, I think the quarterback can throw really, really well,” Morgan said. “He doesn’t mind sitting in the pocket. They do some really good things scheme wise, offensively. On defense, they play aggressive and hard. There is nobody that really stands out. They have good linebackers. They play hard and blitz a lot. It will be a good test and a good game.”

The weather could also play into Memorial’s favor. Early forecasts show an 80 percent chance of rain Friday. The Titans are a better running team on paper and could utilize that to help in inclement conditions.

The Eagles inadvertently helped the Titans last week by beating Kingwood Park. With both teams losing, a Titans win Friday sets up a winner-take-all game between Memorial and Kingwood Park to close the season.

Titans linebacker Darrell Thornton said the Titans are in playoff mode.

“We are putting that loss past us and we are on to the next,” he said. “We are going to have to lock in this week. We are at the end of the season and we want to be in the postseason.”