Undefeated Marshall Travels to Texas High With Potential Challenges In Store
Marshall Mavericks (7-0, 4-0)
Texas High Tigers (5-2, 3-1)
7:30 p.m. Friday
Tiger Stadium, Texarkana
- Marshall: Clint Harper
- Texas High: Barry Norton
- Marshall: vs. Mount Pleasant, Oct. 30
- Texas High: vs. Greenville, Oct. 30
- ATH Cam Haller, Jr., 5-10, 200 (125 carries, 1,095 yards, 20 TDs; 8 of 10, 198 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INTs)
- DL Antonio Washington, Sr., 6-2, 280 (50 tackles, 20.5 for loss, 1.5 sacks, 2 QB pressures, 1 forced fumble)
- RB Chavis Mills, Sr., 5-7, 185 (91 carries, 715 yards, 10 TDs; 9 receptions, 104 yards)
- WR Jaquavian Dabbs, Sr., 6-0, 170 (27 catches, 570 yards, 5 TDs)
- WR Trel Patton, Sr., 5-9, 160 (20 catches, 546 yards, 8 TDs)
- DB Micahh Smith, Sr., 6-1, 200 (57 tackles, 2 INTs, 4 PBUs, 1 forced fumble, 1 recovery)
- LB Deondre Osborne, Sr., 5-8, 215 (43 tackles, 3 for loss, 1 INT, 2 PBUs, 1 forced fumble)
- DB Corteze Hurd, Soph., 6-1, 170 (33 tackles, 4 INTs, 3 PBUs)
- QB Cade Pearson, Jr., 6-2, 195 (79 of 143, 1,185 yards, 12 TDs, 4 INTs)
- RB J'Kardi Witcher, Sr., 5-7, 170 (133 carries, 980 yards, 8 TDs)
- WR Jaylen Rhone, Sr., 5-10, 160 (17 catches, 257 yards, 3 TDs)
- DB Chaz Davis, Sr., 5-11, 160
- OL Matthew Davis, Sr., 6-0, 265
- DB Jacorien Walker, Sr., 5-9, 165
- TE/DL Jacoryon Larry, Sr., 6-3, 240
- DB Dee Jones, Sr., 5-10, 170
Just the facts
- This is the 54th meeting between Texas High and Marshall since 1947. Texas High leads series during that span, 34-18-1.
- A Texas High win, coupled with a Longview victory over Mount Pleasant, would create a three-way tie atop the 15-5A standings.
- Marshall is averaging 48.1 points and 477.7 yards per game -- 194.6 passing and 283.1 rushing.
- The Mavericks are allowing 20.1 points and 358.1 yards per game -- 127.4 passing and 230.7 rushing.
- Marshall has not finished undefeated in the regular season since 1996.
- Texas High is averaging 31.6 points and 371.3 yards per game -- 194.6 passing and 176.7 rushing.
- The Tigers are yielding 19.6 points and 288.4 yards per game -- 134.2 passing and 154.1 rushing.
- Texas High is currently in position to reach the playoffs for the 17th consecutive season.
Key matchup: Marshall rushing attack vs. Texas High defensive front. The Mavericks were dealt a blow earlier this week when it was reported that senior quarterback Justin Hart, a starter since his freshman season, suffered a season-ending knee injury in the aftermath of last week's win over Greenville. Hart was enjoying the best season of his career, with 1,164 yards, 11 touchdowns, and only two interceptions in seven games. He passed for a season-best 322 yards in Marshall's biggest win in recent memory, an Oct. 9 win over arch-rival Longview -- the Mavericks' first over their 100-year rival since 2000. Receivers Jaquavian Dabbs and Trel Patton have reaped the benefits, averaging 27.3 and 21.1 yards per catch, respectively.
However, the change at quarterback may not be as dire as it would seem. Expect junior running back Cam Haller to take the majority of snaps. Haller, the Mavericks' leading rusher and owner of 20 touchdowns runs on the ground, is certainly no stranger to the position. He often lines up at quarterback, and while he's only attempted 10 passes out of the "Wildcat" formation, eight of them have been completed, and three have gone for touchdowns. Arm strength doesn't figure to be an issue, either. Haller is a dynamic talent on the baseball field as a catcher. Hart's absence may limit the offense's full capability, but Marshall is awfully fortunate to have a player of Haller's versatility at its disposal.
With that being said, it's not easy to run the ball on Texas High, and with Marshall's offense likely becoming more run-heavy, the Mavericks' offense could be in for a challenge. Texas High ranks second in 15-5A in total defense, and its ability to stop the run is at the forefront.
Don't be surprised if: Marshall plays it conservative on offense in the early going. Even though his upside exists, it still will be Haller's first start at quarterback this season. And it comes on the road against a quality opponent, in a typically challenging environment for visiting teams, and with less-than-ideal weather conditions expected. The Mavs may have to lean harder on senior running back Chavis Mills and their physical offensive line than they have all season long in the hopes of avoiding early mistakes. If Marshall can survive this rest, and leave Texarkana with a perfect 8-0 record, the Mavs will be carrying a ton of momentum into the final two weeks of the regular season and beyond. Marshall can't clinch the district championship outright this Friday night, but a win keeps it at least one game clear of Longview and two games up on Texas High with two games to play.