Todd Beamer football back on track, rolls through Kent-Meridian

Despite allowing 91 points in their first two games, Titans held Royals to single digits.

Todd Beamer High School seems to have gotten the train on the right track in week three of the football season. The Titans took down Kent-Meridian, 33-7, for their first win of the year Sept. 15.

“We kind of got out of character in this game. But I think the resilience of what we were trying to accomplish, I thought we accomplished our game plan,” said Head Coach Rodney McCurry.

The game started exactly how the Titans wanted, but for the Royals defense, it was a long quarter. For the entirety of the first quarter, Todd Beamer kept possession of the football, driving the length of the field on 19 plays. What seemed to be a go-ahead touchdown with under 2:00 remaining in the quarter was taken off the board due to a penalty.

“We were able to have the ball the entire first quarter, and that was our game plan. It felt good to actually execute something,” McCurry said.

The Titans managed to get as close as the three yardline before back-to-back penalties pushed them back to a 3rd and 27 — and having to punt from inside the Kent-Meridian half of the field. But, the first time the Royals got the ball was in the second quarter.

After Todd Beamer used all that clock, Kent-Meridian did the opposite and scored a 71-yard touchdown on their second play of the game. It was a busted coverage by the Titans that allowed Kyle Brown of Kent-Meridian to break free.

A whole pack of Titans take down the Kent-Merdian ball carrier. Ben Ray / The Mirror

A whole pack of Titans take down the Kent-Merdian ball carrier. Ben Ray / The Mirror

After that score, the Beamer defense held the Royals scoreless, even making some goal-line stands, keeping the Royals off the scoreboard.

“We had one blown coverage second play of the game, and after that, I think we tightened it up. I love that after that play they didn’t hang their head or anything like that. They just kept fighting,” said McCurry.

It was important for the Titans to be in shape and ready from the start: “It’s crucial (to be in shape). We condition better than anybody in the state,” said senior Dominic Simpson.

The first Beamer touchdown came with 2:17 left in the first half. Todd Beamer was down a running back, so Elijah Prim had to step up, and he delivered the first score on a 14-yard touchdown run.

Simpson was the primary quarterback for the majority of the contest, but is listed as a running back and linebacker.

“We had to use what we had. He (Simpson) is a tough one to bring down. We thought he was going to be tough for them to tackle,” said McCurry.

Sam Parkhotyuk is in his sophomore year and is the only quarterback on the roster. He got some work late in this game.

“We got some good stuff on film for teams to have to gameplan against. It’s just another element in our offense that is going to be hard to stop,” McCurry said.

The Titans defense held up to close out the first half, and the Titans went into halftime with a narrow 8-7 lead.

“The guys just flew around and had fun more than anything. They’re starting to trust the technique and coaching,” said McCurry.

Kent-Meridian opened the second half with the ball, after a three and out and a muffed punt snap. The Titans took over at the 21-yard line of Kent-Meridian. On the second play of their drive, Keith Rogers Jr. caught an 18-yard touchdown from Dominic Simpson.

Beamer sophomore Niko Shreffler celebrates a first down late in the third quarter. Ben Ray / The Mirror

Beamer sophomore Niko Shreffler celebrates a first down late in the third quarter. Ben Ray / The Mirror

“He (Rogers Jr.) is an amazing talent. He’s fast, physical and a nightmare to line up against because he’ll beat you deep. You see it on film, any team that game-plans versus us has a spy or someone over the top of him because he’s gonna get you deep once,” McCurry said.

The third quarter was the difference in this ball game. Todd Beamer found the endzone through the air from 37 yards out. Senior Abdala Shaban was on the receiving end of a Simpson pass, putting the Titans up 20-7 in the third quarter.

On the following drive, Kent-Meridian was surging, and as time was expiring in the third quarter, Naia Ulusago ripped the ball away from the Kent-Meridian ball carrier and ran down all the way to the Royals’ 27 yard line. But due to a blindside block penalty, the ball was brought back to the other side of the 50 yard line.

The Todd Beamer defense had their best game of the season, holding the Royals to one score (on their second play from scrimmage). In their previous two games, the Titans gave up a total of 91 points.

“We’ve got some more players back in fold. Once we come together in full force, I think we’re going to be dangerous,” said McCurry.

Penalties are one area where the Titans can improve going into their next game against Kentlake.

“We had about four penalties in the red zone and a touchdown called back that really killed us … We were averaging four (penalties) a game and this game had 13, which might bring up that average a little bit. But it’s stuff in-house we can fix,” McCurry said.

In order to keep the momentum, the message is simple for the Titans: “We can’t get too comfortable,” said Simpson.