HOUSTON – Marshall head coach Claude Mathis’ 43rd birthday turned into a celebration. The Mavericks made sure of that with a dominant second half of football.

Marshall rallied from an eight-point halftime deficit by scoring seven second-half touchdowns en route to a 63-24 win over Nederland on Friday in their Class 5A Division II area-round playoff at NRG Stadium.

The Mavs (10-2) will face Huntsville (11-1) next week in the Region III semifinals. Huntsville, a 34-10 winner over 2017 state finalist Manvel, is coached by Rodney Southern, who led the Marshall program from 2002-06.

Nederland (10-2) scored with 22 seconds to play in the first half to go up 21-13 at the break.

“I lost it at halftime,” Mathis said. “It wasn’t a pleasant scene, but I got my point across.”

Marshall scored twice in the third quarter, and five times in the fourth, outscoring the Bulldogs, 50-3, after intermission.

“Our coach basically told us, ‘he’s got our back if we get his back,’” said Marshall junior quarterback JJ Green, who accounted for four touchdowns. “We were playing timid and scared (in the first half). We came out in the second half and played football the way we know how to.”

Marshall’s defense forced consecutive three-and-outs, and scored on its second possession of the third quarter when Green connected with Savion Williams on a 12-yard touchdown. Tahj Washington caught the two-point conversion, tying the game at 21-21.

Jared Washington intercepted Nederland quarterback Blaysin Fernandez on the ensuing series, and returned it 62 yards for the touchdown, giving Marshall a 28-21 lead with 2:58 to play in the third.

Following a 29-yard field goal from Payne Barrow, Marshall scored the game’s final 35 points.

Washington returned a kickoff 91 yards for a touchdown, Green scampered for a 20-yard score, connected with De’Kendrick Bender on a 34-yard TD, Bender tossed a 16-yard touchdown to Williams, and Jabbarius Grant returned a fumble 61 yards to close it out.

“We’ve got to win all three phases of the game,” Mathis said. “We didn’t win any battles in the first half. In all three phases we had to make some adjustments.”

Green passed for 76 yards and two touchdowns, and added 93 yards and two TD’s on 11 rushing attempts. Demarcus Williams led Marshall with 105 yards and a touchdown on nine carries.

“We missed some shots (downfield) the first half,” Mathis said. “We said we were gonna complete those in the second half, but the running game had to continue to keep us in the game, and they did. JJ made some great checks, that kid right there played his butt off today.”

Green’s 12-yard touchdown run capped a 10-play drive to begin the game for Marshall, but Nederland answered with a eight-play match that was finished by Fernandez’s 5-yard touchdown pass to Blayne Burnett, tying the game at 7-7 in the first quarter.

Demarcus Williams’ 5-yard scoring run gave the Mavs a 13-7 lead, but Nederland scored twice before halftime to go up eight points at the break. Bryce McMorris had a 12-yard touchdown pass to Adam Roccaforte, and Fernandez scored on a 1-yard run.

“We had to do some adjustments at halftime,” Mathis said. “We moved a coach to the press box, did a lot of adjusting in the second half, and just opened it up. Basically, we just to play. We had to get the ball to our playmakers, and that’s what we did in the second half.”

Marshall 63, Nederland 24

Class 5A Division II, Region III Area Playoff
At NRG Stadium, Marshall

Nederland         7    14      0      3    –    24
Marshall            7      6    15    35    –    63

First Quarter
MAR—JJ Green 12 run (Melvin Salinas kick), 8:13.
NED—Blayne Burnett 5 pass from Blaysin Fernandez (Payne Barrow kick), 4:13.
Second Quarter
MAR—Demarcus Williams 5 run (kick failed), 9:05.
NED—Adam Roccaforte 12 pass from Bryce McMorris (Barrow kick), 5:57.
NED—Fernandez 1 run (Barrow kick), :22.
Third Quarter
MAR—Savion Williams 12 pass from Green (Tahj Washington pass from Green), 4:56.
MAR—Jared Washington 62 interception return (Salinas kick), 2:56.
Fourth Quarter
NED—FG Barrow 29, 11:38.
MAR—Washington 91 kickoff return (Washington run), 11:27.
MAR—Green 20 run (Salinas kick), 9:37.
MAR—De’Kendrick Bender 34 pass from Green (Salinas kick), 6:25.
MAR—Savion Williams 16 pass from Bender (Salinas kick), 3:07.
MAR—Jabbarius Grant 61 fumble return (kick failed), 1:39.

                                     NED                  MAR
First Downs                        15                     19
Total Yards                        310                   388
Rushes-Yards               32-123             33-262
Passing Yards                    187                  126
Comp.-Att.-Int.             19-34-1             7-13-0
Punts-Avg.                     4-34.8              2-39.0
Fumbles-Lost                      2-2                   1-0
Penalties-Yards                  2-20                 6-59

RUSHING—Nederland, Josh Mazyck 11-69, Jack Laughlin 4-32, Blaysin Fernandez 9-23, Armani Douglas 3-8, Carsen Arline 1-1, Bryce McMorris 4-(-10). Marshall, Demarcus Williams 9-105, JJ Green 11-93, Tahj Washington 3-31, De’Kendrick Bender 4-18, Treylin Lewis 4-8, Dominique Williams 1-6, Jakobe Mitchell 1-1.
PASSING—Nederland, Fernandez 15-29-1—137, McMorris 4-5-0—50. Marshall, Green 5-11-0—76, Savion Williams 1-1-0—34, Bender 1-1-0—16.
RECEIVING—Nederland, .Blayne Burnett 5-75, Carsen Arline 5-23, Brycen Grusecki 2-21, Adam Roccaforte 2-17, Landon Hiltz 2-9, Douglas 1-32, Robert Mathes 1-7, Mazyck 1-3.  Marshall, Savion Williams 4-41, Bender 1-34, Green 1-34, Washington 1-17.

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