Justin Hart Leads Marshall To 55-29 Win Over Pine Tree
[Anthony Hawthorne, Special to ETSN.fm]
Marshall – After dropping a heartbreaking district 15-5A opener a week ago to Hallsville, the Marshall Mavericks knew they needed to respond in a big way.
They did just that.
With a trip to Longview looming, the Mavs picked up a key district win against Pine Tree, 55-29, in front of a homecoming crowd at Maverick Stadium.
Justin Hart led the way, throwing for 5 first half touchdowns. The Mavs jumped out to a 41-15 lead at the break.
The junior signal-caller lead an offense that racked up 540 yards, finishing the night completing 17 of 22 passes for 335 yards. He spreaded the ball to six different receivers, four of which found the end zone.
Deonte Jordan caught eight passes for 118 yards, Trel Patton added 81 yards on four catches with two touchdowns and Jaquavian Dobbs added two catches for 61 yards and a score.
Cameron Haller lead the way on the ground once again, lining up at both quarter and running back. The sophomore standout finished with 11 carries for 83 yards and two touchdowns, giving him 9 scores at the season's midway point.
“I thought we played really well” said Marshall coach Clint Harper. “I thought that was about the most complete game we’ve had. We had the one series after halftime where we had the holding call that negated a first down, other than that it was a pretty dominating offensive performance.”
Pine Tree (0-5, 0-2), despite a huge deficit, battled throughout the second half behind the duo of Mason Hays and Quay Ward.
Hays, who started the season at quarterback, has smoothly transitioned to receiver and had an impressive night. The senior caught seven passes for 151 yards and a touchdown and added six points on the ground.
Ward provided most of the ground game for the Pirates on the night, collecting 96 yards on 25 carries and two hard-earned fourth quarter TD’s.
The Maverick (3-2, 1-1) defensive front bullied the Pirate line for a majority of the night. It forcing eight negative plays and held the rest of the Pine Tree ball carriers for 16 lost yards.
The Mavericks scored on all their first half possessions save their last one.
After forcing an opening three-and-out for the Pirate offense and a punt from their own end zone, the Mavs went to work with good field position.
Marshall started at the Pine Tree 38-yard line. Hart got going early and often, connecting with Patton twice on a five-play drive. Patton's second reception resulted in a 23-yard score and a 7-0 lead.
The Mavs forced another punt on the next Pirate possession, taking over near midfield.
Lining up both Hart and Haller under center, the Mavs moved the ball efficiently. Hart connected with Jordan twice on the drive, the latter a 12-yard gain that set up a first-and-goal.
Two plays later, Haller broke into the end zone from four yards out.
Pine Tree finally got things going on the game's next possession.
An eight-play, 75-yard drive featured the combination of Hays and James Bonamy connecting twice. Facing 2nd-and-11 from the Marshall 24, Hays took a short screen pass and found his way to the end zone and cut the deficit to 14-8 after Hays caught the 2-point conversion.
It was all Hart on Marshall’s next possession. He completed 4 of 5 passes for 78 yards, which included a 34-yard strike to Patton.
Marshall seemingly put the game away in the second quarter. It scored on four consecutive drives, all capped with Hart passes.
Pine Tree turned the ball over on downs on the next possession, with a failed fake punt giving Marshall the ball at the Pirate 34-yard line.
It took just one play for the Mavs as Hart found Jaquavian Dobbs for a 34-yard TD, giving Marshall a commanding 28-8 lead.
The defense forced another quick 3-and-out, pressuring Bonamy into 3 incompletions.
It took just five plays, set up by a 20-yard run by Haller, for Hart to find John Love for a 15-yard score.
Hays, who accounted for more than half of Pine Tree's total yards, keyed a Pirates score just before the half. He found himself alone past the secondary and hauled in a 50-yard pass to the 4-yard line and punched it in on the next play.
Hart continued his dominance with just 1:40 remaining until the half, moving the ball through the air quickly on a five-play drive which covered 84 yards in just over a minute. Completions to Patton and Jordan of 10 and 42 yards set up Deondre Osborne for a 10-yard touchdown reception.
Hart completed 15 of his 20 first half passes for 278 yards and all 5 TD’s.
Pine Tree returns to action next week hosting Texas High. Marshall travels to Longview.
“Big one next week," Harper said. "You don’t have to do much here in Marshall to get ready for Longview.
“Just say the name. We should be able to practice hard and play hard. I think they learned last year this isn’t the same Marshall they can just roll in here and beat 49-0. Those days are probably over with. I know they’ll remember that, that was a heck of a football game last year. We’re gonna get their best shot."