Marshall Blasts South Oak Cliff, 35-3, For Big Time Experience Next Week
DESOTO -- It was revenge. It wasn't revenge.
Either way, Marshall answered last year's season-ending loss to South Oak Cliff with a 35-3 win Saturday at DeSoto's Eagle Stadium in the Class 5A Division I area playoff round.
Their reward is sweet.
The Mavericks will get to make an appearance at the Dallas Cowboys' AT&T Stadium in Arlington next week against Frisco Lone Star. It's a rarity for teams from the East Texas region. Even the adults are excited about the opportunity.
"It's always been a dream," head coach Clint Harper said. "I got to coach in the old one (Texas Stadium) as an assistant coach 15 years ago. Fifteen years ago last week or next week, actually. It's always been a dream of mine. And I know it is for my kids."
Harper is such a fan of AT&T Stadium that it's framed on his office wall. Although that also might be because the Cowboys' home has usually served as the Texas state championships host site through its existence.
The Houston Texans' NRG Stadium will be the state championships site this season. Marshall (11-1) got a little bit closer to taking that trip as well with a victory about as good as it sounds.
Defensive tackle Antonio Washington turned in another excellent performance. He recorded four tackles for loss, all in the first half, for minus-10 South Oak Cliff yards. That includes back-to-back tackles in a 7-0 game to knock the opposition back from the Mavericks' 3-yard for a successful 27-yard field goal from Yavonnie Garcia.
Washington also recorded a 9-yard sack and forced a fumble, his fourth this season, through the playoff meeting.
"It was a big game," Washington said. "I read a lot of articles that said it was revenge. But it wasn't revenge. It was more that we knew we were better last year. There are no excuses to it. We should have won last year. But we didn't."
Linebacker Deondre Osborne had a big game as well. Aside from a handful of big hits as South Oak Cliff (8-4) continued trying to assert its running game, he recorded an interception which helped Marshall to a 7-0 lead after three consecutive three-and-outs. Later, he recovered the fumble Washington stripped away.
Safety Micahh Smith took points away from South Oak Cliff, too. He recovered a bad snap on an opening drive that reached Marshall's 2-yard line in the first minutes.
Combined, the defense gave the Mavericks' offense the room it needed to take off.
Marshall spent its early drives trying to incorporate running back Chavis Mills into the game plan after a pretty quiet game against Lindale last week.
That paid off after Osborne's interception. South Oak Cliff's defense crept up and quarterback Cam Haller slid out of the box and up the field for a 32-yard touchdown a few seconds into the second quarter.
The Mavericks punted a fourth time in the game their next possession, after Washington blew up South Oak Cliff's second and final touchdown opportunity in meaningful time, and then it rained touchdowns.
South Oak Cliff punted back to the Mavericks with three minutes to play before halftime.
Haller connected with Jaquavian Dabbs for 33 yards to get out of his own goal posts' shadow, ran for 36 yards two plays later and Mills reached the end zone on an 8-yard counter run for a 14-3 lead with Alan Martinez's extra point kick.
The defense held South Oak Cliff to a three-and-out and burned two timeouts in an attempt to get one last possession.
Marshall made it a 21-3 game with a two-play, 49-yard and 23-second drive capped with Dabbs' 45-yard touchdown from Haller.
Fellow receiver Trel Patton got into the mix immediately after the break. He caught a 54-yard pass to set up his own 34-yard scoring reception.
Washington's hit on South Oak Cliff's next drive jarred the ball loose and Osborne recovered at the opposing 32-yard line.
Mills and Haller ran 15 of the final 32 yards. Mills got in from five yards for the game's final score. There was still 7:11 to play in the third quarter.
Marshall slowed down its pace offensively and let South Oak Cliff try to nickel and dime the defense. Then Washington, Osborne, Smith and the rest of the guys would clamp down.
Haller finished his day with 104 rushing yards on 15 carries while completing 8 of 13 passes for 190 yards.
Mills carried 17 times for 59 yards.
Patton's two big receptions helped him to a team-best 117 yards. Dabbs followed with 68 yards. The two combined for seven of the eight catches.
"I had been waiting on this ever since we lost to them last year," Patton said. "That left a bitter taste in my mouth, however long ago it was. I just really wanted the rematch. We got it and we came through like we needed to."
Down 35-3, South Oak Cliff's offense re-entered the red zone with about six minutes left in the game. A pass on fourth-and-4 from the 7-yard line was too far in front of a receiver for him to get a foot in the end zone.
Marshall held South Oak Cliff to 270 total yards while gaining 352 yards of its own.
Quarterback David Johnson led his side with 145 passing yards. Cedric Tatum led runners with 69 yards on 13 attempts.
"I wouldn't say revenge," Smith said. "I would say redemption. We had a great offseason. We worked really hard. Coach Harper told us after that game that we would be playing them at the same time and the same day, and that ended up happening. We turned the story around."
A big test awaits at 10:30 a.m. Saturday in Arlington. Frisco Lone Star also is 11-1 and put the finishing touches on a 55-13 with against Forney around the same time Marshall kicked off.
But that's something that can wait for the 24-hour rule.
"I don't know what it's going to be like in that stadium," Smith said. "I just don't know. Hopefully, I'll get more chances to play in NFL stadiums. Hopefully NRG at the end of the year."
Marshall 35, Dallas South Oak Cliff 3
Class 5A Division II Area Round Playoff Game
Eagle Stadium, DeSoto
Marshall 0 21 14 0 -- 35
South Oak Cliff 0 3 0 0 -- 3
MAR--Cam Haller 32 run (Alan Martinez kick), 11:24
SOC--Yovannie Garcia 27 field goal, 8:02
MAR--Chavis Mills 8 run (Martinez kick), 1:21
MAR--Jaquavian Dabbs 45 pass from Haller (Martinez kick), :07
MAR--Trel Patton 34 pass from Haller (Martinez kick), 10:35
MAR--Mills 5 run (Martinez kick), 7:11
First Downs 11 19
Total Yards 352 270
Rushes-Yards 32-162 35-125
Passing Yards 190 145
Comp.-Att.-Int. 8-13-0 14-28-1
Punts-Avg. 6-36.5 5-23.0
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 5-2
Penalties-Yards 7-70 5-45
RUSHING--Marshall, Cam Haller 15-104, Chavis Mills 15-58. South Oak Cliff, Cedric Tatum 13-69, Darius Gadberry 13-31, JaMarcus Ingram 1-11, Marcus Reece 2-11, David Johnson 5-7, TEAM 1-(-4).
PASSING--Marshall, Haller 8-13-0--190. South Oak Cliff, Johnson 14-28-1--145.
RECEIVING--Marshall, Trel Patton 4-117, Jaquavian Dabbs 3-68, Mills 1-5. South Oak Cliff, Ingram 7-87, MarKiese King 4-42, Datryan Evans 3-16.