The third year of the Clint Harper era in Marshall is set to begin, and expectations for the iconic East Texas program are on the rise. The Mavericks begin the season ranked No. 5 in's preseason Class 6A/5A poll.

Harper, a former Mavs quarterback and son of ex-Marshall head coach Bill Harper, has rescued his alma mater from the depths of irrelevance with consecutive playoff appearances in his first two years on the job.

Now, fans in Marshall have their sights set on the next phase: postseason success.

The Mavs captured their first playoff win since 2009 last season, and Marshall is positioned nicely for bigger and better results moving forward.

Marshall returns 16 starters from last year's 7-5 area finalist, including 10 from an offense that averaged more than 38 points per game in 2014.

The offensive headliners include junior QB/ATH Cam Haller, who enjoyed breakout success in his debut campaign as a sophomore with more than 1,000 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns.

Marshall also returns starting quarterback Justin Hart, running backs Chavis Mills and Deondre Osborne, and receiver Trel Patton.

Defensively, the Mavs figure to be much improved with the return of six starters, including defensive lineman Antonio Washington and linebacker/safety Micahh Smith.

2015 Marshall Mavericks Football Schedule

Aug. 28at Royse CityW 62-13
Sept. 4CrandallW 55-7
Sept. 11OPEN
Sept. 18Arkansas HighW 56-28
Sept. 25*HallsvilleW 56-21
Oct. 2*at Pine TreeW 35-28
Oct. 9*LongviewW 28-25
Oct. 16*GreenvilleW 45-19
Oct. 23*at Texas HighL 27-7
Oct. 30*Mount PleasantW 54-0
Nov. 6*at Sulphur SpringsW 39-0
Nov. 14(BI-DISTRICT): vs. LindaleW 21-17
Nov. 21(AREA): vs. Dallas South Oak CliffW 35-3
Nov. 28(REGIONAL): vs. Frisco Lone StarL 56-7 Preseason Class 6A/5A Poll