Marshall Faces Wylie East + One of Top Running Backs in Nation
CLASS 5A DIVISION II
Region II Bi-District Playoff
Marshall Mavericks (6-4)
Wylie East Raiders (7-3)
7:30 p.m. Friday
Ron Poe Stadium, McKinney
- Marshall: Clint Harper
- Wylie East: Joe Lepsis
- Marshall: idle
- Wylie East: def. Highland Park, 20-9
- Winner faces either The Colony or Frisco, 5A Division II, Region II area-round playoff
- ATH Cameron Haller, Sr., 5-10, 205 (148 carries, 1,545 yards, 21 TDs; 12 of 18, 100 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT)
- S Tre Macon, Jr., 5-11, 190 (87 tackles, 3 for loss, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble, 2 recoveries, 4 PBUs)
- OL Chasen Hines, Jr., 6-3, 330
- S Corteze Hurd, Jr., 6-1, 175 (69 tackles, 1 INT, 3 PBUs, 1 forced fumble, 1 recovery)
- CB Branden Andrews, Sr., 5-10, 160 (36 tackles, 1 forced fumble, 1 recovery, 5 PBUs)
- LB Sheldon Williams, Sr., 6-0, 205 (78 tackles, 2 for loss, 1 sack, 2 forced fumbles, 1 recovery, 1 INT, 1 PBU)
- QB Hunter Herrington, Jr., 5-11, 190 (64 of 138, 801 yards, 10 TDs, 7 INTs)
- WR Dekendrick Bender, Soph., 6-0, 165 (18 catches, 233 yards, 2 TDs)
- RB Eno Benjamin, Sr., 5-10, 203 (263 carries, 1,789 yards, 19 TDs; 4 catches, 51 yards, 1 TD; 30 of 56, 418 yards, 5 TDs, 3 INTs)
- QB Corbin Johnson, Soph., 5-6, 166 (10 of 19, 159 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs; 134 carries, 772 yards, 6 TDs)
- LB Lae'zhon Johnson, Jr., 5-8, 175 (69 tackles, 8 for loss, 4 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 1 recovery)
- DT Jordan Jeffrey, Jr., 6-1, 225 (18 tackles, 10 for loss, 7 sacks)
- CB Xavier Hopkins, Sr., 5-10, 165 (23 tackles, 2 for loss, 2 INTs, 8 PBUs)
- CB Jimmy Trevillion Jr., Sr., 5-10, 165 (13 tackles, 1 INT, 8 PBUs, 2 forced fumbles)
- LB Justin Smith, Jr. (69 tackles, 10 for loss, 4 sacks, 1 INT, 2 PBUs)
- WR Ronald Smith, Sr., 6-0, 175 (9 catches, 253 yards, 4 TDs)
Just the facts
- Marshall is averaging 32.7 points and 350.5 yards per game -- 259.4 rushing and 91.1 passing.
- The Mavs have won five consecutive games, defeating their opponents by an average score of 48-14.
- Marshall's Cameron Haller is responsible for 47.8 percent of the team's total yards and 22 of their 41 offensive touchdowns.
- The cumulative record of Marshall's 10 opponents this season is 43-57.
- Wylie East is averaging 30.6 points and 379.9 yards per game -- 322.2 rushing and 57.7 passing.
- The Raiders' first season of varsity football was 2007.
- Wylie East's Eno Benjamin is the second-ranked running back recruit in the state of Texas and the 10th-highest in the nation, according to Scout.com.
- The cumulative record of Wylie East's 10 opponents this season is 52-48.
Key matchup: Wylie East rushing attack vs. Marshall defensive front. The objective for the Raiders' offense is simple: give the ball to their best player, and live with the results. Wylie East senior running back Eno Benjamin is not only one of the best running backs in the country, but the biggest reason for the Raiders' run to the playoffs this season. The blue-chip rusher, who recently re-opened his recruitment after originally committing to Iowa, has been held to less than 100 yards rushing in a game only once this season. And not surprisingly, the Raiders were shut out that game in a 7-0 loss to West Mesquite. In Wylie East's seven wins this season, Benjamin is averaging 197.8 yards per game, but in the losses, he's managed 135. While Benjamin is the primary ball carrier for Wylie East, the Raiders also use sophomore quarterback Corbin Johnson extensively in the running game. He has three 100-yard rushing performances in his last four games.
Friday's playoff opener will be a test to see how far Marshall's run defense has come since the beginning of the season. The Mavericks' worst three defensive performances came in losses to Tyler Lee, Longview, and Texas High. In those games, Marshall allowed an average of 310 rushing yards. However, the numbers came down each week. Lee blasted the Mavs for 415 yards on the ground in the season opener, and Longview followed with 321 the next week. Then, in the District 16-5A opener against Texas High, Marshall limited the Tigers to 194 rushing yards and only 325 total. Since the loss to Texas High, Marshall's defense has not been tested, as Sulphur Springs, Mount Pleasant, Greenville, Hallsville, and Pine Tree all average less than 28 points per game. Marshall's defensive front has certainly missed the production of last season's ETSN.fm Super Team Defensive Player of the Year Antonio Washington, who racked up 43.5 tackles for loss a season ago in his senior year. Coming into Friday, Marshall's defense as a whole has just 48 stops behind the line of scrimmage. Getting a run-oriented offense like Wylie East off schedule with negative plays could be a big key to the game.
Don't be surprised if: The passing game for either team is ultimately the difference. Both Wylie East and Marshall love to run the football, and both teams come into the bi-district round of the playoffs averaging less than 100 passing yards per game. The Raiders have Benjamin, and the Mavs counter with senior running back Cameron Haller, who is enjoying another stellar season. Haller, a Texas A&M baseball commit, leads Marshall with 1,545 rushing yards and 21 touchdowns after going for more than 1,800 yards and 26 touchdowns a season ago. If both running games play up to their potential, the game could come down which quarterback performs the best at crunch time. Marshall junior Hunter Herrington threw six interceptions in his first five games, but has been picked off just once during the Mavs' current five-game winning streak. He's coming off a three-touchdown performance against Pine Tree two weeks ago. Wylie East attempted only five passes in its win last week over Highland Park, but Johnson hit on 5 of 6 attempts for 124 yards and pair of touchdowns the week before.