Marshall Reaches 4-0 for First Time Since 2001 With 56-21 Win Over Hallsville
[By Anthony Hawthorne, Special to ETSN.fm]
MARSHALL -- You can add the Hallsville Bobcats to the list of teams that can't figure out how to stop Cameron Haller and the Marshall Mavericks offense.
The Mavericks rolled once again, defeating rival Hallsville in convincing fashion, 56-21, to improve to 4-0 for the first time since the 2001 season before a big crowd at Maverick Stadium, halting their four-game losing streak to the Bobcats in the process.
Haller continued his touchdown tear, adding four more to give him 19 on the season, while picking up 167 yards on 16 carries. The junior scored on runs of 14, 9, 12 and 22 yards, while his backfield mate Chavis Mills added 109 yards on 19 carries that included a 20-yard score in the fourth quarter.
After punting on their opening drive, the Mavs scored on seven of their next eight possessions, with a kneel down just before the half their only time not finding the end zone over the time span.
The Mavs running game wasn’t the only thing working, as senior quarterback Justin Hart was efficient in completing 7 of his 11 passes for 125 yards and two touchdowns. Jaquavian Dobbs was his primary target, catching six passes for 138 yards, which included a 37-yard touchdown.
The Mavs took the opening kickoff of the second half with a 28-14 lead and added to it, thanks in large part to Haller.
The junior picked up 69 yards on the first drive on five carries, including a 22-yarder on a second-and-21 play. After runs of 9 and 11 yards from Mills, Haller scored from 22 yards out for his fourth touchdown of the night.
Hallsville stayed within shouting distance on its next drive.
Roger McCuller hit Andrew Southard for 15 yards and Josh Taylor added runs of 13 and 10 yards to get the Bobcats to the Mavericks' 11-yard line. Two plays later McCuller called his own number, scoring from 5 yards out to cut the lead to 35-21.
That was as close as the Bobcats got, however, as Antonio Washington and Co. kept them out of the end zone for the remainder of the night. Washington was a force up front, with five tackles for loss and numerous quarterback pressures.
Marshall added to its lead on its next possession, moving the ball in chunks on the ground and setting up its passing game in the process. After converting a fourth-and-18 thanks to a holding penalty on the Bobcats, the Mavs converted a fourth-and-6 with a 20-yard touchdown strike from Hart to Trel Patton.
Mills finished off an eight-play 62-yard drive, all of it coming on the ground, with a 20-yard touchdown on the next drive, pushing the lead to 49-21.
Micahh Smith finished off the night by picking off a Caden Thomson pass and taking it back 85 yards for the score.
“I thought we played great team football tonight,” Marshall coach Clint Harper said. “We hadn’t played a complete team game against Hallsville in my two years here yet. Bottom to top we played great. I thought our defense played really well against a really good offensive team.”
Harper was once again impressed by his offense, Haller in particular.
“He’s a pretty special football player," Harper said. “You don’t get to coach one of those very often and I’m blessed to coach him. He’s got a great offensive line in front of him creating holes and he’s doing a really good job of being patient and running through those holes. We’ve got a quarterback (Hart) who's a fourth-year starter and I would imagine there’s only a handful of teams that can say they have one of those with over 40 starts.”
McCuller finished the night completing 4 of 10 passes for 65 yards, while rushing for 53 yards and two touchdowns. Lance Hardman added 91 yards on 12 carries for Hallsville.
The Bobcats (2-2, 0-1) opened the scoring on the night, thanks in large part to a Marshall special teams miscue. After failing to complete a third-and-16 pass the Hallsville punter was leveled by a Mavs defender, setting up a fresh set of downs.
McCuller took advantage, darting 41 yards on the next play to the Mavs' 25-yard line. Runs of 8 and 9 yards by the quartberack set up Ryan Taylor for a 3-yard jaunt up the middle for an early 7-0 Bobcats lead.
It appeared the Mavs were going to be in an even bigger hole following a 13-yard punt, setting the Bobcats up at their own 40-yard line.
Hardman took the first carry 52 yards to the Mavs' 8-yard line. But Washington came up with a big tackle for loss and a bad snap forced the Bobcats to try a 41-yard field goal that was no good.
“I thought that was the series of the game,” Harper said. “They go up 14-0 and it’s a whole lot more difficult to come back as we found out last year. That was a huge series in the game.”
The Mavs struck quickly following the failed chance by the Bobcats, taking just three plays to move 77 yards.
Haller hit Dabbs for 30 yards on first down, then carried for 10 on the next play. Hart moved back to quarterback and hit Dabbs once again alone up the sideline for a 37-yard touchdown strike, evening things up at 7-7.
The Bobcats' next two possessions ended in punts, thanks in large part to Washington wreaking havoc on an offensive front that simply couldn’t keep him out of the backfield.
Mills started the next drive and Haller finished it. After Mills moved them inside the 30-yard line, Haller did the rest with a 7-yard carry setting up his first score of the night from 14 yards away.
Hart and Dabbs opened the next series with a 55-yard connection on first down, while Mills picked up a first down with a 2-yard carry on third-and-1. Haller scored from 9 yards away on the next play for a 21-7 lead.
After Jalon Mitchell forced a fumble that Marje Smith recovered, the Mavs added to their tally as Haller got his third score of the night on the next play from 12 yards out.
McCuller ended the scoring run of the Mavs just before half, getting in from a yard out with 17 seconds remaining, cutting the halftime lead to 28-14.
Marshall returns to action next week at Pine Tree, with a showdown with Longview looming just a week later. Hallsville plays host to Texas High next Friday.
Marshall 56, Hallsville 21
At Maverick Stadium, Marshall
Hallsville 7 7 7 0 -- 21
Marshall 7 21 7 21 -- 56
HAL – Josh Taylor 3 run (Akuna kick) 7:48
MAR – Jaquavian Dabbs 37 pass from Justin Hart (Alan Martinez kick) 3:23
MAR – Cameron Haller 14 run (Martinez kick) 9:42
MAR – Haller 9 run (Martinez kick) 5:08
MAR – Haller 12 run (Martinez kick) 4:00
HAL – Roger McCuller 1 run (Branch kick) :17
MAR – Haller 22 run (Martinez kick) 6:58
HAL – McCuller 5 run (Akuna kick) 3:39
MAR – Trel Patton 20 pass from Hart (Martinez kick) 11:09
MAR – Chavis Mills 20 run (Martinez kick) 4:40
MAR – Micahh Smith 85 interception return (Martinez kick) 2:24
First Downs 17 15
Total Yards 325 428
Rushes-Yards 43-221 38-267
Pass Yards 104 161
Comp-Att-Int 7-16-1 9-14-0
Penalties-Yards 9-92 9-75
Fumbles-Lost 2-1 0-0
Punts-Avg 3-34 1-13
RUSHING – Hallsville, Lance Hardman 12-91, Roger McCuller 15-53, Josh Taylor 8-28, Andrew Southard 1-9, Terry Rollins 7-40. Marshall, Cameron Haller 16-167, Chavis Mills 19-109, Justin Hart 3-(minus 9).
PASSING – Hallsville, McCuller 4-10-0--65, Caden Thomson 3-6-1--39, Marshall, Hart 7-11-0--125, Haller 2-3-0--30.
RECEIVING – Hallsville, Southard 3-43, Taylor 1-22, Chris Timberlake 2-21, Coleton Lasseter 1-18. Marshall, Haller 1-(minus 3), Jaquavian Dabbs 6-138, Trel Patton 2-26.