Marshall Could Have Hands Full Against Stingy Lindale Defense
CLASS 5A DIVISION II BI-DISTRICT
Lindale Eagles (5-5)
Marshall Mavericks (9-1)
1 p.m. Saturday
Pine Tree's Pirate Stadium, Longview
- Lindale: Mike Meador
- Marshall: Clint Harper
- Winner faces winner between Mansfield Timberview and South Oak Cliff, area round
- LB Kale Ridge, Jr., 6-3, 210
- RB Ryan Taylor, Sr., 5-8, 175
- OL Justin Fisher, Sr., 6-0, 285
- DL Bryce Barkowsky, Sr.
- QB Montana Meador, Jr., 5-11, 155
- WR Kendrick Price, Sr., 6-3, 185
- TE Cameron Sir Louis, Jr., 6-3, 205
- WR/DB Tayton Williams, Sr., 5-7, 160
- DB Carson Mizell, Sr., 6-1, 185
- QB Cam Haller, Jr., 5-10, 200 (27-44, 423 yards, 5 TDs, 183 carries, 1,518 yards, 25 TDs)
- DL Antonio Washington, Sr., 6-2, 280 (71 tackles, 28 for loss, 3 sacks, 3 forced fumbles)
- RB Chavis Mills, Sr., 5-7, 185 (129 carries, 1,005 yards, 15 TDs, 10 catches, 109 yards)
- WR Jaquavian Dabbs, Sr., 6-0, 170 (35 catches, 741 yards, 7 TDs)
- WR Trel Patton, Sr., 5-9, 160 (29 catches, 584 yards, 8 TDs)
- DB Micahh Smith, Sr., 6-1, 200 (86 tackles, 2 for loss, 3 INTs, 5 PBUs, 1 forced fumble, 1 recovery)
- LB Deondre Osborne, Sr., 5-8, 215 (58 tackles, 4 for loss, 2 INTs, 2 PBUs, 1 forced fumble)
- DB Corteze Hurd, Soph., 6-1, 170 (45 tackles, 4 INTs, 3 PBUs)
Just the facts
- Lindale, one of the smallest schools in Class 5A, is attempting to make the area round of the playoffs for the first time in its four-year history as a 5A program. It last made the postseason in 2013.
- Marshall is in the playoffs for the third time in Clint Harpers' three years as head coach of the program.
- The Mavericks won a share of the District 15-5A championship and the No. 1 seed in the Class 5A Division II bracket. The Eagles finished fourth in District 16-5A, advancing on a three-team tiebreaker with Nacogdoches and Corsicana for a No. 2 seed in Division II.
- Don't count out Lindale. It lost three district games in the final seconds.
- If the Eagles had won those three games, they would have finished second in their district.
- Lindale's five losses came by 16 total points, including one-point losses in consecutive weeks to Lufkin and Nacogdoches.
- Marshall, a nine-win team, has not won 10 games since the 2005 season. The Mavericks reached the old Class 4A Division I state championship game that year and finished with a 13-2 record.
- Lindale will commute 43 miles to Pirate Stadium. Marshall's trip is 31 miles one-way.
Key matchup: Marshall's offense versus Lindale's defense.
Saturday's game will be a giant test for the Mavericks' offense. The team lost four-year starting quarterback Justin Hart four weeks ago and lost to the only District 15-5A playoff team it faced without the signal caller -- Texas High.
Marshall rallied for wins against Mount Pleasant and Sulphur Springs to close the regular season. Those two squads combined for a 3-17 record, including Mount Pleasant's head-to-head win against Sulphur Springs.
No one knows how good the Mavericks' offense will be against the top half of the state's teams without Hart.
The Eagles' defense is the clear strength of the Lindale football team. Head coach Mike Meador's team allowed a district third-best 22.4 points per league game. Defending Class 5A Division II state champion Ennis (20.1) and Lufkin (14.5) performed just a bit better, but those two teams only played six district games to the Eagles' seven games.
In retrospect, the Lindale defensive front might have been the best in its district. Headlined by linebacker Kale Ridge and defensive lineman Tyler Segrest and Brandon Barkowsky, the unit forced the other playoff bound teams to throw more than they would have preferred.
Marshall junior running back turned quarterback Cam Haller will be a test though. He has 183 carries for 1,518 and 25 touchdowns on the ground. If that's not enough, running back Chavis Mills eclipsed 1,000 yards on his final snap of the regular season.
But, if the Mavericks running game is slowed down, does Marshall have the capability to throw consistently in the face of a good pass rush?
Don't be surprised if: Lindale sticks around. The team matches up well in the most critical defensive areas with Marshall's offense. However, just like the Mavericks, the Eagles can afford to become more diverse on offense. The Mavericks will be locked in on running back Ryan Taylor and have a great weapon right in the middle -- defensive tackle Antonio Washington. The nose has 28 tackles for loss this season, the best number among East Texas players in Class 5A. Lindale's best route to circumvent Washington is to establish the passing game to open up more room for Taylor. But ballhawks Micahh Smith and Corteze Hurd are waiting in the Mavericks' secondary.