Ea­gles soar in early Dis­trict 9-5A show­down

Houston Chronicle - - HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL - By Rob Tate STAFF WRITER rtate@hc­non­line.com

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.

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