Indians, Titan earn all-state football honors
Published 12:20 am Sunday, February 12, 2023
The football players from Port Neches-Groves and Memorial made deep runs in the playoffs this season, which earned a handful of the student-athletes recognition on the Blue Bell/Texas Sports Writers Association’s Class 5A all-state football team.
However, local consensus is more talent from Port Arthur and Mid County should have been highlighted.
The Memorial High Titans won two playoff games this year before falling to Longview in the postseason.
With a 2022 record of 11-2, there was much to be proud of, according to head coach Brian Morgan, who said his players worked hard the whole year and did what coaches asked.
“It is a grind what we put our guys through from offseason, which starts in January, all the way through November,” he said. “Those guys are required of a lot in regards to track, 7-on-7 and all the stuff it takes to be successful in the fall. Those seniors did a great job in the last four years of putting in everything we asked them to.”
Even with the final loss, the Titans captured their third consecutive district title. Over the previous three seasons, Memorial has gone 28-6 with a 2-3 playoff record. The Titans ended the season with the district’s top-ranked offense led by quarterback Davion Wilson and receiver Caleb Goodie.
It was Goodie who earned Class 5A all-state honors as a second team kick returner and honorable mention wide receiver.
Morgan said the senior’s ability to run is his biggest strength.
“When he touched the ball, he had a lot of big plays — whether catching long balls or catching short balls and running after he catches,” Morgan said. “He did a really good job of everything he was asked to do all year.”
Morgan said Goodie made huge plays against Barbers Hill and La Porte.
“As the season went on, he influenced the game because teams wouldn’t kick to him,” according to Morgan. “It helped us out in field position, because they wouldn’t kick the ball deep to him.”
Coach Jeff Joseph said the offensive line was the core of PNG’s success this season, with coaches leaning on the lineman the entire regular season and playoffs.
That effort concluded with a runners-up finish following a massive second half by Dallas South Oak Cliff, with the Bears outlasting the Indians 34-24 in the Class 5A Division II title game at AT&T Stadium.
According to Joseph, the offensive line consisted of “big, strong dudes” who worked hard to improve all year.
That effort led to tackle Jansen Ware and center Bryce Loftin earning honorable mention on the Blue Bell/Texas Sports Writers Association’s Class 5A all-state football team.
Mason Droddy was recognized in the same way at linebacker position.
The senior was the Indians’ leading tackler in 2022, as well as the team leader in sacks.
As one of PNG’s quickest guys, Droddy made himself a force as a playmaker.
“He made a ton of tackles for us every game,” Joseph said. “He is undersized for a linebacker and played outside linebacker for us, but he has a huge heart and a huge motor.
“He is extremely quick and explosive. He can change direction and move side-to-side very well. He used his size to his advantage and was able to dip underneath with quickness off the edge to beat offensive lineman.”
Dallas South Oak Cliff senior defensive lineman Billy Walton was the defensive player of the year on the all-state squad.
Sharing offensive player of the year honors are Midlothian senior quarterback Kaden Brown and Montgomery Lake Creek sophomore running back Tyvonn Byars.
SOC’s Clifton Todd was the coach of the year, winning his second straight state title.