Texas High Tigers (4-3, 3-1)

Vs.

Marshall Mavericks (4-3, 2-2)

7:30 p.m. Friday
Maverick Stadium, Marshall

 

Coaches
  • Texas High: Barry Norton
  • Marshall: Clint Harper

 

Last week

 

Next week
  • Texas High: at Greenville, Oct. 31
  • Marshall: at Mt. Pleasant, Oct. 31

 

Playmakers

Texas High

  • RB Javon Thomas, Sr., 6-2, 210 (committed to Tulsa)
  • WR Jarion Anderson, Sr., 5-11, 170 (6 catches, 111 yards vs. Longview; soft verbal commitment to Tulsa)
  • DT William Brown, Sr., 6-4, 275
  • LB K.J. Reid, Sr., 6-1, 200
  • QB Cade Pearson, Soph. (20 of 27, 254 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INTs)
  • DB Dee Jones, Jr.
  • DB Jaylen Rhone, Jr., 5-8, 150

Marshall

  • OT Chett Munden, Sr., 6-6, 305 (committed to North Texas)
  • QB Justin Hart, Jr., 6-0, 160 (100 of 150, 1,405 yards, 13 TDs, 5 INTs)
  • ATH Cameron Haller, Soph., 5-10, 185 (72 carries, 721 yards, 10 TDs)
  • OL Tyler Hodges, Sr., 6-1, 285
  • WR John Love, Sr., 5-11, 185 (27 catches, 361 yards, 6 TDs)
  • RB Deondre Osborne, Jr., 5-9, 215
  • DE Trey Valentine, Sr., 6-3, 230
  • DT Antonio Washington, Jr., 6-1, 250

 

Just the facts
  • Texas High is 31-19-1 against Marshall dating back to 1947.
  • The Tigers have won the past two meetings, including notching a 45-0 win against Marshall last season.
  • The Mavericks' last win in the series came in 2009. The two teams took a hiatus from playing each other between 2010 and 2011.
  • Texas High's 38-20 loss last week against Longview knocked the Tigers out of a share of first place in District 15-5A. The team is tied for second in the league with Sulphur Springs.
  • Marshall's 42-17 win against Greenville has the Mavericks in a tie with Hallsville for third place in the division, but Hallsville owns the head-to-head tiebreaker and there are three other teams competing for four playoff spots.
  • Marshall will have to win at least one of its final three games, and it will probably have to win out because Hallsville has winnable games against Greenville and Pine Tree remaining on its schedule in addition to a tough season finale at Longview.
  • Marshall will wrap up the reguar season with Mt. Pleasant and Sulphur Springs.
  • If Texas High wins, it will be in great standing for the postseason. It finishes the regular season with Greenville and Mt. Pleasant, teams which have a combined 1-7 district record.
  • Junior Mavericks quarterback Justin Hart ranks 11th among East Texas passers this season with 1,405 yards. He is fifth among underclassmen quarterbacks in the region in terms of total yardage.

 

Texas High receiver Jarion Anderson cuts through Whitehouse defenders during their game Aug. 29 game in Texarkana. (Evan Lewis, ETSN.fm)

Key matchup: Texas High's offense versus Marshall's defense. The Mavericks have allowed about 29 points per game, which makes it the fourth-best unit in the league behind Longview, Texas High and Hallsville. The Tigers' defense is statistically stronger, but Marshall would put itself in the best position to win by getting a handle on its opponent's two-pronged attack.

Texas High has two senior Tulsa commitments on its team in running back Javon Thomas and receiver Jarion Anderson while sophomore quarterback Cade Pearson is coming into his own behind an outstanding offensive line. Anderson accounted for an impressive 111 yards against a good Longview secondary last week.

Marshall is in decent position to muddle the Tigers offense with defensive linemen Antonio Washington and Trey Valentine. The duo should make Texas High think twice about where they're trying to run the ball and they should be able to give the team a significant pass rush.

Marshall defensive lineman Antonio Washington should be a force Texas High will have to deal with Friday. (Christopher R. Vinn, ETSN.fm)

The Mavericks' defense as a whole is coming off its best performance of the season, a 42-17 win against Greenville.

Turnovers are something to watch for in Friday's game. Longview turned three Texas High turnovers into 21 points last week.

If Marshall's defense can slow down the Tigers, junior quarterback Justin Hart and explosive sophomore athlete Cameron Haller should be able to lead a well put together offense that can move the ball the other direction.

Don't be surprised if: Marshall puts together one of its best performances as the game's underdog. This is a big game for both sides, but the Mavericks will be fighting to stay with the other top four teams in the league. A loss for Marshall and Hallsville's probable win against Greenville would likely take the Mavericks' destiny out of their own hands considering Longview and Sulphur Springs are heavy favorites entering their games.

The season is on the line at Maverick Stadium.

Texas High's Javon Thomas cuts back to elude Hallsville's Ky-Untae Hicks during their game Oct. 3 game in Texarkana. (Evan Lewis, ETSN.fm)