Memorial plays tough in win over Stratford

At TexasPrepInsider our tag line is ‘We are There.' Well that was the case as we bring you coverage from the Week 5 Friday night match up between Spring Brach ISD teams Houston Memorial and Houston Stratford. Game day coverage from TPI is free so check out this game wrap up.

For many years there has been two characteristics of the Houston Memorial (2-1) football team: tough defense and a strong ground game. And in the Mustangs' annual rivalry game against Stratford (2-1), both seemed to be quite consistent.

The Mustangs rushed for 195 yards while holding the Spartans to 190 yards en route to a 28-10 win Friday night at Tully Stadium.

"Tonight we were fortunate enough to come out on top. Our defense really set the tone early and that allowed us to play from in front," Memorial coach Gary Koch said. "You know you are a little bit more free when you play from the front so we felt pretty good about the way we were able to get after them."

And that was apparent. As far as setting the tone early, on the fifth play from scrimmage, Jared Carameros was in the passing lane and came away with the interception. Carameros took the ball in for the game's first touchdown from 39-yards out. 

According to Koch, it has been the Mustang defense that has held their own throughout the season. But tonight, they got some help from the other side.

"Really up to this point, we have been living on defense and tonight we were able to put together a little offense. That was nice," Koch said. "They (the Mustang running backs) were able to play well with Nolan Miller (leading rusher, 16-84 yards) and John Lillegraven in the backfield. We were able to spread the ball around and that's good because it keeps people from sitting on you and you have a good opportunity to be successful."

But not only were the running backs big in this game, but also quarterback Davis Miller, who ran for 69 yards and a score. Through the air, Davis Miller completed 9-of-12 passes for 91 yards and two scores. His primary targets were Daniel Neumann (four catches for 45 yards, two touchdowns) and De'Mario Thibodeaux (two catches for 25 yards). 

"Daniel (Neumann) got us out of some holes along with De'Mario (Thibodeaux) and Carson McDaniel," Koch said. "We just had a good night overall and it was just one of those nights for us."

For the most part, Memorial was in the driver's seat for most of the game. But the Spartans did have some movement at times. 

Right before halftime, Stratford marched down and scored with seconds remaining when the Benninger brothers (quarterback Mark and receiver Brett) hooked up on a 3-yard touchdown. Mark threw for 67 yards, a touchdown and interception while Brett had six catches for 44 yards and a score.

Their only other score was from kicker Jesus Loa on a 39-yard field goal. On the ground, the Spartans' leading rusher was Rodney Anderson who had 10 carries for 56 yards.

Stratford will take on Alief Hastings while Memorial will face off against Northbrook. Both games are slated for Friday.

"We have to play Northbrook and we already have a loss so we can't afford to be messing around," Koch said. "We have to think about Northbrook now and just go from there."

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