Eagles soar in early District 9-5A showdown
PORTER — Gerome Henry scored two touchdowns, and Jaylen Neal intercepted two passes to help lead the New Caney Eagles to a 38-21 victory over the Port Arthur Memorial Titans in a key District 9-5A battle Friday night at Texan Drive Stadium.
“It’s very big because we have a lot of young kids who are just getting into the mode to play varsity football,” Henry said. “Every week, we are just getting better and better.”
Eagles coach Brady Pennington knew the game would be a challenge for his young players since the Titans return a host of talented veterans from a team that went deep into the playoffs last season.
“It’s definitely a big step to one of our goals this year, and that’s a district championship,” Pennington said. “That was big.”
Memorial (5-1, 2-1) got on the scoreboard first with 3:47 remaining in the first quarter when Alex Ned scored on a 57-yard pass from quarterback Kameron Ladia.
New Caney (5-1, 3-0) made it 7-3 a little more than a minute later with Eduardo Martinez’s 35-yard field goal.
After a muffed punt by the Eagles, Brandon Chaney’s 2-yard touchdown run with 8:39 left in the second quarter put the Titans up 14-3.
It took only one play and 13 seconds on New Caney’s ensuing drive for Zion Childress to connect with Henry for a 75-yard touchdown to get the Eagles back within 14-10.
“My quarterback did a good job of throwing me the ball to green grass,” Henry said. “I just did it after that.”
New Caney then dug into its bag of tricks on its next touchdown drive.
On fourth-and-14 from the Memorial 49-yard line, the Eagles faked a punt, with C.J. Sanders fielding the direct snap and racing up the middle to score a touchdown and give New Caney its first lead of the night at 17-14 with 2:51 left in the half.
“For us to win the ballgame, we were going have to be big on special teams,” Pennington said. “We had to have that score that really turned the page there and shifted the momentum.”
Memorial took the ensuing kickoff and drove to the Eagles’ 23 before a couple of penalties stalled the drive and forced the Titans to attempt and miss a 40yard field goal with t 1:30 remaining before halftime.
New Caney opened the second half by marching 13 plays to score and take a 24-14 lead with Childress capping the drive with a 26yard run at the 6:12 mark.
After a fumble recovery by Jaylen LaPoint late in the third quarter, Memorial scored 72 seconds into the fourth quarter on Chaney’s second touchdown run — this time from 3 yards
Kameron Tyler gave the Eagles some breathing room with a 30yard touchdown run to put his team up 10 points with a little more than nine minutes left in the game.
Henry added his second touchdown on a 9-yard run off of a direct snap to make it 38-21 with 3:38 remaining.