35 unanswered second half points points blows open Titans game against Crosby

Published 11:08 pm Friday, September 29, 2023

CROSBY – Senior Ja’coryn Baker led a balanced rushing attack as Memorial used a big second half to pull away from Crosby for a 63-31 win in District 8 5A-Div. I action Friday night at Cougar Stadium.

“A win is a win,” said Memorial coach Brian Morgan after the game. “We made a couple of miscues. The goal line non-conversion, the fourth-down non-conversion and the miscommunication on the kickoff were really the three things that kept the game close for a while.

“I don’t think they ever really stopped us on offense. We had a few mistakes, and we didn’t catch the ball as well as we normally do. Our guys just keep playing. They didn’t worry about the score. If you play really, really hard for four quarters, it really wears down some teams. You could see that in the fourth quarter tonight.”

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Baker rushed for a team-high 184 yards on 10 carries and scored three touchdowns.

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Amante Martin rushed 17 times for 96 yards, and Alex Eugene added 93 yards on 12 carries and two touchdowns.

For the game, Memorial rushed for 383 yards and passed for another 204 yards for a staggering 587 yards of total offense.

Cobe Stoever completed 13 of 26 passes for 204 yards and two touchdowns.

The Titans defense also contributed to the scoring as Jekelbe Joseph had a 55-yard interception return for a touchdown right before halftime, and Daevon Iles had a 47-yard interception return for a touchdown to ice the game away.

Trailing 28-24 to start the third quarter, Crosby kicked off to the Titans.

A miscommunication led to the Cougars’ Nicholas Samuel recovering the ball. That led to a 5-yard touchdown run by Wesley Yarbrough that gave the Cougars a 31-28 lead with 9:40 left in the third quarter.

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Memorial (5-0, 3-0) responded with 35 unanswered points to pull away. Baker started the onslaught with a 36-yard TD run in which he broke several tackles on the way to the end zone that gave the Titans the lead for good at 35-31.

The Titans scored on the first play of the fourth quarter, a 10-yard pass from Stoever to Semaj Pierre. That drive was set up by a 52-yard completion from Stoever to Baker. Pierre finished the game with six catches for 100 yards and two scores.

Eugene scored on a 2-yard TD run with 8:05 left in the game to push the lead to 49-31. A Baker 58-yard run set up Eugene scoring play. Trying to run out the clock, Baker scored on a 60-yard touchdown run with 4:22 remaining.

The Titans closed out the scoring on Iles’ 47-yard interception return. He read the quick throw inside and jumped the route and raced into the end zone untouched to make the score 63-31 with 4:00 left in regulation.

“Our defense is really talented, especially the secondary,” said Morgan. “If you are going to try and throw the ball against us, which is what we try to make teams do, it’s going to be a problem. We have some good players back there.”

The game started about as good as could be expected for the Titans. The defense forced a quick three-and-out on Crosby’s first possession of the game.

Memorial responded with a quick, two-play scoring drive. Martin raced 43 yards on his first carry. Stoever hit Pierre for a 20-yard touchdown to give the Titans a quick 7-0 lead with 10:58 left in the first quarter.

Nolan White intercepted Kade Eudy on the Cougars next possession. That led to a 2-yard touchdown run by Eugene. Stoever connected with Pierre on fourth-and-7 for a 22-yard completion to keep the drive going. That pushed the Titans lead to 14-0 with 9:41 left in the opening quarter.

That’s when things took a turn for the worse for Memorial. Crosby scored 24 unanswered points. The first score came on an 18-yard touchdown run by Levi Fontenot.

After the Cougars forced a three-and-out, Eudy booted a 29-yard field goal to cut the Memorial lead to 14-10. Facing a fourth-and-one on their ensuing possession from their own 24, the Titans decided to go for it and Marting was stopped for no gain, turning the ball over on downs to the Cougars.

Crosby did not waste the good field position and scored on an 18-yard touchdown pass from Eudy to Cash Glover.

Memorial put together a methodical drive that went all the to the Crosby 1 with a nice mix of run and pass plays.

An 11-yard pass from Stoever to Jaquan Holmes and a 16-yard run by Eugene that gave the Titans first-and-goal were the big plays. Facing fourth-and-goal from the 3, Stoever’s pass fell incomplete, and the Titans once again turned the ball over on downs.

Crosby responded with a 97-yard scoring drive. Eudy hit Evan Egans for a 13-yard completion to the 23. Fontenot followed with a 73-yard touchdown run to make the score 24-14 with 5:36 left in the second quarter.

Memorial finally responded with a scoring drive of its own. Stover hit Holmes twice on the drive with completions of 15 and 11 yards. He also had a 30-yard completion to Pierre. Ja’coryn Baker capped the drive with a 1-yard TD run to pull the Titans within a score at 24-21 with 2:18 left in the quarter.

The Cougars were trying to add more points before halftime, but the Titans defense had other ideas. Jekelbe Joseph intercepted Eudy and raced 55 yards for a touchdown as Memorial would reclaim the lead at 28-14 heading into the locker room at halftime.

For those of you keep track, the first half featured three separate scoring swings. Memorial scored the game’s first 14 points, Crosby responded with 24 unanswered and then the Titans scored 14 straight in a wild opening 24 minutes.

THE PLAY OF THE GAME WAS … Memorial’s Jekelbe Joseph’s 55-yard interception return for a touchdown with :41 left in the second quarter. It allowed the Titans to reclaim the lead heading into the locker room at halftime.

THE GAME BALL GOES TO … Senior Ja’coryn Baker led the team in rushing with 184 yards on 10 carries and three touchdowns. He also caught two passes for 60 yards.

KEY STATS … Memorial’s Jaquan Holmes had four catches for 44 yards. The Titans defense intercepted three passes and recovered one fumble. Crosby’s Kade Eudy was 5 for 21 for 35 yards passing with three interceptions and one touchdown. Levi Fontenot had 211 yards rushing on 16 carries with two touchdowns. Wesley Yarbrough added 90 yards on 18 carries and one TD.

UP NEXT … Memorial returns home to host LaPorte next Friday for a 7 p.m. kickoff. Crosby hits the road for a game at Porter next Friday at 7 p.m.

— Written By Daucy Crizer