Chavis Mills Paces Marshall To Controlled Scrimmage Win Against Tyler Lee + Teams Tie In Live Quarter
MARSHALL -- Chavis Mills rushed for 179 yards and a two scores on eight carries to lead the way in what could very loosely be considered a Marshall win against Tyler Lee in Friday's preseason scrimmage at Maverick Stadium.
The Mavericks starters won the controlled portion of the meeting, four touchdowns to two, and the two primary sides tied, 0-0, through a 12-minute running clock quarter of real football.
"I don't win scrimmages," head coach Clint Harper said. "I will say this, I think that's the best we've played in three years against Tyler Lee. I'll say that. But it's hard to say -- We don't try to game plan a scrimmage. We come out here and run our base offense. We're running about four offensive football plays and we're running our basic defense without blitzing or bringing anybody."
Friday's scrimmage used spring football quarterback rules. That is to say contact with the signal callers was frowned upon and the referees weren't very generous with the yardage quarterbacks picked up with their feet.
The protective rules killed fans' hopes of seeing a duel between Lee's dual-threat Zach Hall and Marshall's specialty quarterback Cameron Haller. Hall led the pair with one rushing attempt for one yard while completing four of six passes for 40 yards before the Red Raiders turned to backup Mark Russell for game exposure.
Hall is a senior being recruited by Baylor, Missouri and Texas Tech. Haller, who suffered two receiver drops on three pass attempts for zero yards, is expected to pick up some offers through his final two varsity seasons.
The running backs got to shoulder a load that probably won't be proportional to a real game setting. Mills was the big winner with a 50-yard touchdown and other long runs of 60 and 34 yards.
"It was just the O-line blocking," Mills said. "If you follow those big boys, they're going to take you to pay dirt. I think we did good. We executed to the fullest of our ability. We literally executed every single play."
Lee and Marshall's starters did not commit a single penalty and neither offense turned the ball over.
Mavericks senior starting quarterback Justin Hart turned in a solid performance. He completed eight of 14 passes for 154 yards, including two touchdown throws to Jaquavian Dabbs.
Russell recorded 72 passing yards and a touchdown for the Red Raiders. He completed five of seven passes.
The starting sets got 25 reps apiece in the controlled portion of the scrimmage. Reps were broken up into 15 consecutive plays and 10 consecutive plays.
Marshall's defense forced back-to-back three-and-outs before giving up a six-play, 70-yard scoring drive its first time out.
Mills countered with his 50-yard score to cap a four-play drive on the Mavericks' first series. Hart found Dabbs for in the end zone from 12 yards out eight plays later to give his team a lead.
Marshall hit the opening 15-play limit on its own 42-yard line three plays into its third series.
After the backups got their reps, Lee running back Tavon Wesley finished a seven-play, 70-yard scoring drive with a nine-yard run.
Mills set up the his second score, the Mavericks' third, with his 60-yard run. Hart then connected with Dabbs for a 49-yard scoring pass on the offense's seventh of 10 plays.
In the live quarter, Russell led Lee 49 yards to set up a missed 46-yard field goal attempt. That was as close as either team got.
Marshall recorded one first down before punting back to Lee. The Mavericks defense forced their third three-and-out and the clock expired with Hart and company facing 4th-and-10 at their own 41-yard line.
Lee will visit Keller Fossil Ridge at 7:30 p.m. Friday for its season opener. The Mavericks simultaneously will be on the road at Royse City.
"I'm feeling pretty confident," Mills said. "I've got a little more experience. Cameron Haller is going to help me out in the running game. So is Denzel Mitchell. Justin Hart is going to lead this offense. The defense is there. I think we'll be pretty good."
They Said It...
Tyler Lee head coach Darrell Piske on quarterback Mark Russell:
"We talked to him before the year started. He's going to play some outside linebacker for us. He'll get game time over there. Really, he's going to be our third quarterback. If something real bad happens, he can come in and finish a game. I knew he'd be fine. He's a winner. We said, 'Heck, he hasn't been able to rep one in practice yet.' So, we repped him all day yesterday and he did just fine."
Marshall head coach Clint Harper on running back Chavis Mills and his 179 yards on eight touches:
"If he was 6-foot-2, you wouldn't be able to drive in this parking lot because there would be so many Division I recruiters here. But he's 5-foot-8. Nobody wants to recruit a 5-foot-8 running back. To me, he's as explosive as any running back because he's got leverage. When you're the No. 5 power lifter in the state at that size, you're pretty hard too tackle. Tyler Lee kind of found that out tonight. It's not a surprise to me. We had to hold him back or it could have been more."