PA Memorial ends season for Friendswood 46-28

FRIENDSWOOD — The Friendswood Mustangs were a pre-season pick to win the District 9-5A-I crown. Instead, the Mustangs finished with a 3-6 overall record and 3-4 in district to finish sixth while missing the playoffs for the second time in the past three years.

Friendswood finished 6-4 in 2018 to miss the post-season only to return to the playoffs in 2019 where they lost to Cedar Park in the 5A Region III Div. I area round to finish 9-3 overall.

The 2020 team handed head coach Robert Koopmann his first losing season since taking over the helm of the Friendswood football fortunes in 2012 following the retirement of former head coach Steve Van Meter who guided the Mustangs for 20 years.

The Mustangs traveled to Memorial Stadium in Port Arthur to face the Titans knowing they were facing a team that hadn't dropped a game this season. Memorial (9-0, 7-0) capped off their first undefeated regular season in the school's 19-year history with a 46-28 win over Friendswood.

Friendswood started off the game on the right foot as senior QB Luke Grden (who was the pre-season district offensive MVP) guided the Mustangs on a 61-yard, four-play drive capped off with a 25-yard scoring pass to Matthew Kovacevich for a 7-0 lead with 1:20 left in the first quarter.

Grden hit consecutive completions of 31, 16, and 35 yards before finding Kovacevich for the touchdown grab on the Mustangs opening drive of the game.

But Memorial had a counter response in junior QB Jah'mar Sanders who ran and passed his way through the Mustangs defense for 461 yards in total offense. The signal-caller completed 17-of-25 passes for 352 yards while running for 105 yards on 15 carries. This included two passing touchdowns and two rushing scores.

In the first half, Sanders ran for two scores and threw for two touchdowns for 357 yards in the first half.

The first score was a screen pass from Sanders to WR Tyrence Augusta covering 66-yards. The Titans missed the PAT leaving the Mustangs with a 7-6 first quarter lead.

After Friendswood turned the ball over on downs at their own 46, Memorial got a 46-yard scoring romp from Sanders. The PAT was good and the Titans led 13-7.

Memorial stopped an 11-play, 60 53-yard Mustang drive to take over at their own 20. Five plays later, Sanders gets loose again for a 55-yard scoring jaunt to make the score 20-7.

Friendswood turned an interception of Sanders into a touchdown driving to the Titans 8-yard line before scoring to cut the lead to 20-14.

Memorial would make their last possession of the first half count as Sanders hit Tony Brooks on a 15-yard scoring strike for a 26-14 lead after missing a second PAT.

It didn't take long for Memorial to put game out of reach as the Titans scored 20 points in the third quarter while holding the 'Stangs to one score for a 46-21 advantage.

Sanders hit Brooks on 17 and 21-yard scoring passes while Sanders scored the two-point conversion. Branden Chaney also scored on a 2-yard run while the two-point attempt failed.

Grden threw a 3-yard scoring pass for the Mustangs only score in the third quarter sending the game into the final frame with the Titans holding a commanding 46-21 lead.

Early in the fourth quarter, Friendswood scored their final touchdown on a 5-yard run making the final score 46-28.

Grden connected on 28-for-46 passing for 341 yards and a pair of touchdowns.