SHREVEPORT, La. -- Marshall entered its Week 3 matchup with impressive stats after beating down Royse City and Crandall, but Bossier City (La.) Parkway taught the Mavericks there's still room for improvement in a 45-21 Battle on the Border showcase loss Saturday.

Parkway, which turned the ball over eight times in a loss last week against Shreveport's Calvary Baptist Academy, played much crisper at Independence Stadium and had a 33-7 lead at halftime.

Marshall's first half points came on a 62-yard interception return by Jalon Mitchell. The offense failed to score on six possessions and gave up an interception.

"They're a great football team," Marshall head coach Clint Harper said. "I told the team that they hadn't forgotten how to play football. They played a really good Calvary team, committed eight turnovers and still only lost by 19 points. They're a real good football team. When you don't execute, you're not going to beat a real good football team."

Marshall quarterback Justin Hart completed 21 of 32 passes for 201 yards and a touchdown in Saturday's game. (Christopher R. Vinn,

The Mavericks did show improvement in the second half, however.

Junior quarterback Justin Hart finished his day with 201 passing yards and a third quarter passing touchdown against Parkway's first-team defense.

Running back John Love had 137 total yards, 71 on the ground and 66 through the air. Fellow tailback Chavis Mills had 54 yards on 12 tough runs.

Marshall's defense performed much better in the second half, and Parkway never called the dogs off.

"John Love ran extremely tough," Harper said. "He's a senior. He's played four years and came out and did a great job. We did a much better job blocking in the second half than what we were able to do in the first half. We made some plays. But you can't drop two third downs in the first half and have to punt against a team like this."

Parkway (1-1) won the coin toss, took the ball and scored in two minutes. A missed PAT made the score 6-0.

Marshall (2-1) returned the ball to the 50 yard line and converted a fourth-and-6 on its initial set of downs. The drive stalled when the offense failed to convert a fourth-and-18 situation after a holding penalty.

Mitchell gave the Mavericks new life with his pick-six on Parkway's ensuing drive. Alan Martinez's converted PAT gave Marshall a 7-6 lead with 5:35 to go in the first period.

Parkway scored the next 27 points. It did not punt in the first half nor did it turn the ball over a second time through the time span.

Marshall got the ball to start the second half and went three-and-out, but the defense held Parkway to three plays on its first drive after the break.

The Mavericks went 66 yards in nine plays their next possession. Love's 32-yard run from Parkway's 33 to set up a two-yard run from specialty quarterback Cameron Haller. It cut the deficit to 33-14 with 5:50 to play in the third quarter.

But Parkway scored on its next play from scrimmage, a 62-yard bomb from quarterback Keondre Wudtee to running back William McKnight.

Marshall's final touchdown of the game was answered in similar fashion.

Hart connected with Love for a 20-yard touchdown pass which cut the deficit to 39-21 with 1:20 to play in the third period. Parkway scored three plays later.

That's it for Marshall's non-district slate. The team will be idle Friday and will have some time to reflect Saturday's game.

District 15-5A play begins against Hallsville on Sept. 26.

"This is the first time we're going to have to face a little adversity," Harper said. "We've got to get our heads up and realize the next game is the most important game. That's Hallsville. It's the first district ball game, and it's going to be a huge one."