Unbeaten Marshall Figures to Receive Toughest Test Yet In 15-5A Opener Vs. Hallsville
Hallsville Bobcats (2-1)
Marshall Mavericks (3-0)
7:30 p.m. Friday
Maverick Stadium, Marshall
- Hallsville: David Plunk
- Marshall: Clint Harper
- Hallsville: idle
- Marshall: def. Arkansas High, 56-28
- Hallsville: vs. Texas High, Oct. 2
- Marshall: at Pine Tree, Oct. 2
- OL Parker Braun, Sr., 6-3, 275
- RB/DB Lance Hardman, Sr., 6-0, 190
- QB Roger McCuller, Sr., 6-0, 185
- WR Andrew Southard, Sr., 6-2, 180
- TE Coleton Lasseter, Sr., 6-7, 255
- DL Jonathan Mitchell, Sr., 6-3, 220
- LB Blair Fernandez, Jr., 5-9, 185
- RB Josh Taylor, Jr., 5-9, 175
- QB/ATH Cam Haller, Jr., 5-10, 200 (38 carries, 415 yards, 13 TDs; 5-of-5, 176 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs)
- DL Antonio Washington, Sr., 6-2, 280 (19 tackles, 10 for loss, 1 sack, 2 QB pressures)
- RB Chavis Mills, Sr., 5-7, 180 (32 carries, 379 yards, 7 TDs; 4 catches, 17 yards)
- LB/DB Micahh Smith, Sr., 6-1, 200 (28 tackles, 1 INT, 1 forced fumble, 3 PBUs)
- WR Trel Patton, Sr., 5-9, 160 (9 catches, 244 yards, 2 TDs; 2 carries, 6 yards)
- WR Jaquavian Dabbs, Sr., 5-11, 160 (13 catches, 184 yards, 1 TD)
- QB Justin Hart, Sr., 6-0, 160 (28 of 37, 387 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT; 5 carries, 24 yards)
- DB Corteze Hurd, Soph., 6-1, 170 (6 tackles, 2 INTs, 2 PBUs)
Just the facts
- Hallsville and Marshall have met every year since 2000. Marshall leads the series over that time span, 10-5, but Hallsville has won the previous four encounters.
- Marshall's nearest competitor in District 15-5A is Hallsville at 16.6 miles, while Hallsville is closer to both Longview (10.7 miles) and Pine Tree High Schools (12.6).
- Hallsville is 11-4 in district openers since 2000. The Bobcats have won three straight.
- The Bobcats followed overtime wins over Carthage and Nacogdoches with a 32-13 loss to Athens in Week 3.
- The cumulative record of Hallsville's non-district opponents -- Carthage, Nacogdoches, and Athens -- is 6-5.
- Marshall is 6-9 in district openers since 2000. The Mavs have dropped four straight.
- The Mavericks are averaging 57.7 points and 488.4 yards per game -- 300.7 rushing and 187.7 passing.
- The cumulative record Marshall's non-district opponents -- Royse City, Crandall, and Arkansas High -- is 4-7.
Key matchup: Marshall rushing attack vs. Hallsville defensive front. Through three games, no team has figured out how to stop the Marshall Mavericks' high-flying offense, and in particular, their explosive running game. The Mavs enter Friday's District 15-5A opener averaging more than 300 rushing yards, and Marshall has been getting it in big chunks. Led by Cam Haller and Chavis Mills, the Mavericks are averaging almost a first down every rushing attempt -- 9.6 yards per carry. To make matters even more dicey for opposing defenses, Marshall has rushed for at least six touchdowns in all three games. The Mavs have run for 21 touchdowns on 94 attempts as a team, meaning one out of 4.5 carries has gone for six points.
The Mavericks have been equally as explosive with their passing game. Marshall has only attempted 42 passes on the year, but it is averaging more than 17 yards per completion. The quarterback duo of Justin Hart and Haller has given Marshall's first three opponents fits. Hart, the team's primary passer, has completed 75 percent of his throws and has spread out the distribution. No Mavericks receiver has more than 13 receptions, and six Marshall players have at least two catches on the year. Haller, who does most of his damage on the ground when behind center, has been perfect through the air -- 5-of-5 for 176 yards and two touchdowns, for a perfect passer rating of 158.33. Most of what Marshall gains in the passing game comes as a direct result of defenses crowding the line of scrimmage to shut down what to this point has been an unstoppable running attack.
Hallsville's defense is charged with devising a scheme to get Marshall out of its comfort zone on offense. The Bobcats' defense enjoyed modest success against the run in Hallsville's first two games of the season, both wins -- 39-38 in OT vs. Carthage, and 23-20 in OT vs. Nacogdoches. Neither team rushed for more than 200 yards against Hallsville. However, the Bobcats experienced significant difficulties containing Athens' rushing attack in a 32-13 loss two weeks ago. Athens punished Hallsville's defense for more than 400 yards on the ground, as the Bobcats limped into their bye week with a surprising loss.
Don't be surprised if: Marshall receives its stiffest test of the season to date Friday night. The Mavericks have been awfully dominant to start, outscoring their first three opponents by a combined score of 173-48. However, two of those opponents are 2-2 teams from the Class 4A ranks and the other is Arkansas High, which is 0-3 with three blowout losses to Texas High, Liberty-Eylau, and Marshall. Hallsville, meanwhile, prevailed in back-to-back overtime games to begin the season -- against 4A power Carthage and Nacogdoches, which has made the playoffs the last two seasons out of the rough-and-tumble 16-5A. If Friday's game is close in the second half, it will be interesting to see how Hallsville's experience in close games will affect Marshall, which has had no trouble up to this point of the season.