Emerson Haywood, 2, and the Goose Creek Memorial Patriots travel to Port Arthur at 7 p.m. tonight for their first road football contest this season when the two square off.

Patriots head to PAM  in hopes of 2-0 district start

Goose Creek Memorial’s football team’s comfy relationship with Stallworth Stadium is going on hiatus.

After playing the first four games in Baytown, the Patriots will face their first road test at 7 p.m. Friday when they visit Port Arthur Memorial’s Titans (2-2).

GCM (2-2, 1-0), who will face its toughest task to date, according to head coach Shannon Carter, come off a 20-7 win over Houston Austin last week to rebuild some confidence lost during a two-game losing streak.

“It’s Port Arthur, they have athletes all over the field and they are extremely fast on defense,” Carter said. “They play with a swagger, they’ve always played with. They have some youth on the field like we do. They are the most talented team athletically we have faced this year.”

The Titans have the second-best scoring defense in District 9-5A I and are led by a strong line on both sides of the ball.

“We have our work cut out for us,” Carter said. “You paint the picture for them, but you have to go through it since experience is your best teacher. We’ve going really, really fast in practice and try to put an emphasis on starting fast. 

“We’ve put them in some adverse situations and we are trying to replicate a hostile environment and they have responded to it. Hopefully it carries over.”

Carter believes this contest boils down to the basics.

“It’s two young teams and it will come down to who can minimize mistakes,” he said. 

In last week’s win, GCM simplified its attack with a ground-and-pound approach led by junior running back Brice Lane and the jets of senior quarterback Emerson Haywood taking off out of the backfield with some long runs.

“Every game takes its own complexion, but if we can continue that, it’s a great recipe that’s been around for about 100 years,” Carter said. “If you can control the ball and turn the ball over on third down on defense, while not turning the ball over, you always give yourself a chance.

Haywood liked his team’s more controlled and measured level of emotion in executing its clinical win over Austin especially after a big loss to Clear Falls earlier.

“We want to take one play at a time and get it going,” Haywood said. “We feel like that once we are focused and locked in we would be a better team as a unit. On offense, we will win games on how well we execute.

“It was a big win since it is already a sign of improvement from last year. Clear Falls was a big loss and we didn’t come out the way we wanted to. We used that loss and fire from it against Austin.”

One thing Carter has enjoyed this season is discovering how his team finds ways to adjust to different results, good and bad.

“It’s a pretty resilient bunch,” Carter said. “We have one game that got away from us and another that kind of imploded on us. They’ve learned immensely from those and that the margin of error is very slim. We are going to have a focused team going down to Port Arthur.”

The game will be played at Memorial Stadium in Port Arthur.

The 71-mile trip to 2200 Jefferson Drive, includes a 27-mile drive on I-10 East before getting on TX-73 East for another 22 miles. Next, take TX-347/Nederland for six miles which will head directly to the stadium.

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