Marshall Breaks Away From Nacogdoches Late + Has Date With Dallas South Oak Cliff
LONGVIEW — Tied 28-28 and getting the ball to open the second half, the Nacogdoches football team was in as good a position as any to claim its first playoff victory in the 21st century.
Instead, Marshall forced the Dragons into numerous mistakes, turned on the offensive afterburners and rode a huge second half performance to a 67-42 Class 5A Division II bi-district playoff win over the Dragons Friday at Pirate Stadium in Longview.
The Mavericks recovered a fumble on the opening kickoff of the second half, but were unable to translate that into any points.
However, the Mavericks stonewalled the Dragons in the third quarter and scored two touchdowns in the period, one on a 55-yard interception return.
By the time the Dragons struck again, the score was 47-28 in Marshall’s favor.
In the fourth quarter, the Mavericks recovered three Nacogdoches onside kick attempts and used those to build an even larger lead.
Sophomore athlete Cameron Haller rushed for 132 yards and four touchdowns on 23 carries.
Most of the Mavericks’ offensive production came on big plays.
Chavis Mills took one in from 69-yards out in the first half and the Mavericks had six touchdowns scored on plays of more than 20 yards.
Mavericks quarterback Justin Hart finished the night with 10 completions for 204 yards and two touchdowns on 12 attempts.
The Dragons' offense gave Marshall a run for its money in the first half.
Quarterback Hunter McClellan finished with 421 yards passing and three touchdowns on 30 completions. He added another 21 yards on the ground.
Running back Coronado Tolbert finished his final game with 145 yards and three touchdowns on 20 carries.
Wide receiver Tae Thomas had a stellar night, 12 receptions for 149 yards and a touchdown.
The Dragons struck first on a four-yard rushing touchdown by Tolbert after the defense held the Mavericks for their only stop in the first half.
Marshall didn’t stay behind long. The Mavericks answered on Mills' 69-yard rushing touchdown.
The two sides traded scores for the rest of the first half.
McClellan threw two touchdowns on passes of 63 yards to Ken Rogers and 14 yards to Thomas. Tolbert recorded a second score on a one-yard rush. The Mavericks scored touchdowns on rushes of eight yards and 33 yards as well as a 43-yard touchdown pass from Hart to Trel Patton.
All told, the two teams combined threw only four incompletions in the half.
Patton made a huge difference in the second half. He caught the Mavericks’ first touchdown after halftime on a 32-yard catch then followed that up with a 55-yard pick six.
With 9:27 left in the game, Tolbert scored his final touchdown on a 20-yard rush to make the score 47-35 in favor of the Mavericks.
Marshall scored again, and McClellan threw a 62-yard pass to Sam Morgan to make the score 54-42.
The Dragons looked to be trying to turn it into a game again, but the Mavericks recovered the three onside kicks and turned two of them into touchdowns to build up the final score of 67-42.
The Mavericks finished the game with 367 yards rushing and 204 yards passing.
The Dragons finished the season 7-4 — the same mark as last season.
Marshall improved to 7-4 with the win. The Mavericks will play South Oak Cliff in the area round of the playoffs.