Bulldogs’ high-powered offense faces off with Titans’ stingy defense

Published 12:22 am Wednesday, August 30, 2023

The Memorial Titans and Nederland Bulldogs head into this week’s contest with a similar goal despite separate outcomes in Week 1.

The two teams meet up at Bulldog Stadium with kickoff set for 7 p.m. Friday.

The Titans won their season opener 24-7 over Port Neches-Groves, while the Bulldogs fell 40-34 to West Orange-Stark last Friday.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Both head coaches see this week as an opportunity to improve as district play approaches, for some faster than others.

When the University Interscholastic League realigned the districts last season, the Titans and the rest of District 8-5A Division I was left with just two non-district games, compared to most of the teams that get three.

“It is what it is,” Memorial head coach Brian Morgan said. “We don’t focus too much on that. We just want to get better each game and during the bye week next week.”

A swarm of Memorial Titans defenders surround and tackle Indians quarterback Shea Adams during game action Friday in Port Arthur. Memorial only gave up 7 points in the contest. (Chris Moore/The News)

Morgan was pleased with his team’s performance against PNG, but said there is plenty to clean up.

“Obviously, you want to get rid of all the issues,” he said. “Week to week, you really just try to minimize them as things pop up. I tell our guys that improvement is a continuous process that happens throughout the year. We have to keep getting better. The team we were against PNG is not going to be the team we are this week or when district starts.”

The Titans put together a near-perfect game on defense against the Indians, holding last year’s 5A Division II state finalist to one score. This week, Nederland enters the game with plenty of firepower to further test the Memorial defense.

“On offense, they have changed a little bit,” Morgan said of the Bulldogs. “They can put up some points and can stress you with some of the RPOs (run pass options) and some of the formations. Their quarterback (Ayden Sunday) is athletic. I was really impressed by the running back (Hubert Thomas). He had a really good game against us last year. I think he is a really talented kid.”

Nederland Head Coach Monte Barrow said his team is fortunate to go up against WOS, Memorial and Silsbee in non-district play.

Barrow wants to see his team cut down on pre-snap miscues.

“We tell them all the time that each week, we have to make new mistakes,” Barrow said. “We can correct those. We don’t want to have to go back and spend time on the same things over and over.”

The Bulldogs coach said his team gets a good test against the Titans speed on defense.

“Defensively, they are just maulers,” Barrow said. “They are aggressive. You can sit here and name the guys. They have guys that get the props. They have the defensive end (Michael Riles) and sophomore linebacker (Tai’yion King). They have players all over the field. They have 11 guys out there that can play sideline-to-sideline.”

Barrow said on defense, the Bulldogs have to contain the skill players and make sure a short pass doesn’t become a long gain.”