Sulphur Springs + Marshall Square Off With Playoff Spots On The Line
Sulphur Springs Wildcats (5-4, 4-2)
Marshall Mavericks (5-4, 3-3)
7:30 p.m. Friday
Maverick Stadium, Marshall
- Sulphur Springs: Greg Owens
- Marshall: Clint Harper
- Sulphur Springs: lost to Longview, 49-6
- Marshall: def. Mount Pleasant, 56-6
- Sulphur Springs: TBD
- Marshall: TBD
Just the facts
- Marshall makes the playoffs with a win and a Hallsville loss to Longview, while Sulphur Springs needs a win, or a Hallsville loss to Longview as long as a potential Sulphur Springs loss to Marshall does not come by 13 points or more.
- Sulphur Springs has reached the playoffs in each of the last eight seasons.
- The combined record of the four teams that've beaten Sulphur Springs this season is 25-11.
- Sulphur Springs is averaging 36.4 points and 487.2 yards per game -- 302.5 rushing and 184.7 passing.
- Marshall and Sulphur Springs have met four times since 2008, with Sulphur Springs winning three of the encounters.
- Marshall is averaging 36 points and 414.3 yards per game -- 221.4 rushing and 192.9 passing.
- The Mavericks are 8-12 under second-year coach Clint Harper after going 3-17 under his predecessor, Alex Richters.
- The combined record of the four teams that have beaten Marshall this season is 26-10.
- QB Larry Pryor, Sr., 6-0, 200 (119 of 193, 1,616 yards, 8 TDs, 9 INTs; 122 carries, 1,086 yards, 19 TDs; committed to Texas A&M)
- RB Jaylon Hawkins, Soph. (82 carries, 595 yards, 4 TDs; 2 catches, 35 yards)
- RB Tyler Rosamond, Sr., 5-9, 190 (124 carries, 610 yards, 9 TDs; 4 catches, 53 yards)
- WR Dillon Carpenter, Sr., 6-3, 210 (46 catches, 662 yards, 2 TDs)
- WR CJ Stephens, Sr. (26 catches, 519 yards, 4 TDs)
- DL Carson Hicks, Sr., 6-1, 195 (34 tackles, 12 for loss, 6 sacks, 4 QB pressures)
- DL Cain Cody, Jr., 6-3, 215 (35 tackles, 10 for loss, 5 sacks, 4 QB pressures, PBU)
- DB Bubba Hall, Jr., 6-1, 175 (40 tackles, INT, 9 PBUs)
- OL Chett Munden, Sr., 6-6, 305 (committed to North Texas)
- ATH Cameron Haller, Soph., 5-10, 185 (94 carries, 892 yards, 15 TDs)
- WR John Love, Sr., 5-11, 185 (33 catches, 434 yards, 4 TDs; 29 carries, 158 yards, 2 TDs)
- RB Deondre Osborne, Jr., 5-9, 210 (57 carries, 313 yards, 3 TDs; 12 catches, 123 yards, 2 TDs)
- RB Chavis Mills, Jr., 5-9, 185 (40 carries, 275 yards, 7 TDs; 11 catches, 153 yards)
- QB Justin Hart, Jr., 5-9, 175 (129 of 194, 1,679 yards, 11 TDs, 7 INTs)
- DL Trey Valentine, Sr., 6-3, 225
- DL Antonio Washington, Jr., 6-1, 265
Key matchup: Marshall offensive line vs. Sulphur Springs defensive line. When Marshall Mavericks quarterback Justin Hart has time in the pocket, he typically delivers the ball with remarkable accuracy. A deep receiving corps that features the likes of seniors John Love and Deonte Jordan and juniors Trel Patton and Jaquavian Dabbs present matchup problems for most opposing secondaries, and when the Marshall O-line is providing Hart a clean pocket to stand in, the Mavs' offense is difficult to stop. The Marshall offensive line is anchored by senior tackle and North Texas commit Chett Munden, who is complimented well by Tyler Hodges and C.J. Powell. History suggests that when Hart performs well, so do the Mavericks. In Marshall's four losses, the junior quarterback has thrown six of his seven interceptions. Meanwhile, Hart has thrown all 11 touchdown passes to just one interception in Marshall's five wins. Keeping Hart clear of defensive pressure should be priority No. 1 for the Mavs' offense, which also features a deep backfield trio of sophomore Cameron Haller and juniors Deondre Osborne and Chavis Mills.
Sulphur Springs has consistently applied pressure on the quarterback this season as the Wildcats enter Friday night's regular-season finale with 23 sacks as a team -- an average of roughly 2.5 per game. The pass-rushing duo of senior Carson Hicks and junior Cain Cody have teamed up for 11 of those sacks, while seven other Wildcats have recorded at least one on the year. Marshall has all the elements required for an explosive offense, and if the passing game is allowed to have success, its rushing attack becomes that much more dangerous. Sulphur Springs would love to take away the passing game from Marshall this week by applying steady pressure on Hart. Even if the sacks don't come at their normal clip, the Mavs QB has shown a penchant for turnovers when forced to get rid of the ball before he's ready or the play develops. As one might expect, Sulphur Springs performs much better as a team when its defense is getting after the opposing quarterback. In the Wildcats' five wins, they've amassed 16 sacks to just seven in their four defeats.
Don't be surprised if: We see a barrage of points before the game's all said and done. Each offense has explosive potential, considering Marshall's depth and athleticism at the skill position and Sulphur Springs' playmaking quarterback Larry Pryor and his collection of backfield and edge weapons. Although Marshall's defense is much improved from a season ago, neither the Mavs' or Wildcats' defenses are considered team strengths with both allowing an average of more than 27 points per game. Marshall's offense is coming off an impressive display last week against Mount Pleasant, totaling 431 yards and six touchdowns -- all on the ground -- in a 56-6 rout. On the opposite end of the spectrum is Sulphur Springs, which is on the heels of one of its worst performances of the season last week vs. Longview. The Wildcats were limited to a season-low in points and yards, which included a 56-yard passing output that came with three interceptions. Longview's defense is playing at another level right now, so it could've just been a case of being severely overmatched, but the offensive struggles Sulphur Springs is carrying into this week's game can't be sitting well with longtime head coach Greg Owens. It would be foolish to expect another disappointing offensive showing on Friday night, especially with so much riding on the game's outcome.