Marshall Remains Unbeaten With First Win Over Rival Longview Since 2000, 28-25
MARSHALL -- When Marshall alum Clint Harper was hired to lead the Mavericks program prior to the 2013 season, the objective was clear: restore Marshall to its winning ways and beat Longview.
Three years into the Harper era, the Mavs appear well on their way to recapturing past glory after their 28-25 victory over arch-rival Longview on Friday night at Maverick Stadium, Marshall's first win over the Lobos since 2000.
Marshall (6-0, 3-0 in District 15-5A) jumped in front of Longview (4-2, 2-1) early, and fell behind in the third quarter before scoring early in the fourth to notch an elusive victory over its oldest rival.
"I'm just so happy for (my father) and my family," said Harper, whose father Sid Harper, previously coached at Marshall. "My grandmother passed away this month last year, and it was so special because she was a Longview High School graduate, he's a Longview High School graduate. He coached at Longview, and I grew up for seven years as a little Lobo. I know what it's like to walk that tunnel, but I also know how special it is to be a Maverick."
Marshall junior running back Cam Haller rushed for 128 yards and two touchdowns, including the go-ahead score -- a 4-yard run on fourth down with 8:02 remaining. He later put the finishing touches on the signature win by rumbling 26 yards on fourth-and-inches from the Mavs' 46-yard line with 1:39 remaining and Longview out of timeouts.
"Everybody thought I was gonna punt, and I said, 'no, I'm going for the win,'" Harper said. "I wasn't going to punt it. I've got the best offensive line and the best two running backs in the state of Texas, my personal opinion. If we couldn't get six inches with those two running backs and my offensive line, we didn't deserve to win the football game."
Marshall senior quarterback Justin Hart passed for a season-high 314 yards and two touchdowns. He and senior receivers Jaquavian Dabbs and Trel Patton took advantage of single coverage from Longview most of the night with the Lobos focusing on stopping the Mavs' rushing attack.
"It was our game plan," Harper said. "We knew that they weren't going to be able to play soft and play two safeties, and stop the run with just six people. We're too good on the offensive line and we've got two good running backs. We knew that they were going to have to bring some guys to the box to stop the run, and we've got good enough receivers with the speed."
Dabbs finished the night with five catches for 177 yards, including a 69-yard touchdown reception on the first play from scrimmage.
"He's a big-time guy; he's 10.4 speed (in the 100 meters), that guy can fly," Harper said of Dabbs. "He hasn't gotten a lot of looks from colleges, but I don't know what he's got to do. I wish somebody would tell me. He's made catch after catch after catch this year."
Patton caught two passes for 77 yards, which included a 70-yard scoring reception on a quick slant late in the first half.
"Their secondary had (some) holes in it," Hart said of Longview. "And we just took advantage of it by putting our best on their worst."
Longview rolled up 335 rushing yards on the night, and took its first lead of the game by scoring two touchdowns in the third quarter.
The Lobos pulled to within two, 21-19, after scoring on its opening drive of the second half, a march that lasted 12 plays and consumed 6:30 of the clock. D'Crayvan Polk, who finished with 216 yards on 20 carries on the night, scored on a 19-yard to conclude the drive.
Longview forced a Marshall three-and-out on the ensuing series, and the Lobos' ground game quickly went back to work. Four consecutive Polk carries netted 38 yards, and junior Kendrevian White did the rest, putting the Lobos ahead 25-21 with his 11-yard touchdown run with 1:26 to play in the third.
Marshall answered with a season-defining drive of its own.
It began with a 20-yard gain on a screen pass from Hart to running back Chavis Mills. On second-and-21, Hart hit Dabbs for 39 yards to the Longview 25, then connected with Mills again for 11 yards on third-and-6, setting up first-and-goal.
Following an incompletion on third down, Haller bullied his way through several Longview defenders, and scored to regain the lead for Marshall.
Longview advanced to midfield on its next series, but ultimately was forced to punt it back to Marshall, which took over at its own 6 with 4:08 remaining.
The Lobos never had the ball again.
Two Haller runs totaling 21 yards got Marshall out of the shadow of its own goal post, and on fourth-and-inches, Haller put the game away with his run to the Longview 25.
Following Hart's big-play touchdown to Dabbs on the first snap of the game, Longview and Marshall exchanged punts. The Lobos got on the scoreboard on their next possession when Cody Jenkins hit a 25-yard field goal, cutting Marshall's lead to 7-3 midway through the opening quarter.
Marshall increased its lead two possessions later with a 13-play, 76-yard drive, which included three third-down conversions, including Haller's 5-yard touchdown run to put the Mavs up 14-3 with 9:07 to play in the first half.
Longview fumbled on the ensuing drive, but the Lobos' defense forced a Marshall punt, and took over at its own 20.
On the very next snap, Polk broke free for an 80-yard touchdown run, which sliced the Mavs' lead to 14-10 with 3:52 to play until halftime.
The Lobos' momentum was short-lived, however, as Hart fired a strike to Patton across the middle of the field for a 70-yard scoring play to give Marshall a 21-10 lead.
Longview quickly moved into Marshall territory on its next drive, and Jenkins' 24-yard field goal as time expired in the half sent Longview into the locker room with a 21-13 halftime deficit.
Both teams return to action next Friday night. Longview entertains Texas High (5-1, 3-0), while Marshall plays host to Greenville (2-4, 1-2).
"This is a big win and it's easy to get distracted and not want to come to practice and do all the things that it took to win this game," Harper said. "We've got to continue to stay focused and keep playing hard."
Marshall 28, No. 9 Longview 25
At Maverick Stadium, Marshall
Longview 3 10 12 0 -- 25
Marshall 7 14 0 7 -- 28
MAR--Jaquavian Dabbs 69 pass from Justin Hart (Alan Martinez kick), 11:41.
LON--FG Cody Jenkins 25, 6:17.
MAR--Cam Haller 5 run (Martinez kick), 9:07.
LON--D'Crayvan Polk 80 run (Jenkins kick), 3:52.
MAR--Trel Patton 70 pass from Hart (Martinez kick), 2:03.
LON--FG Jenkins 24, :00.
LON--Polk 19 run (pass failed), 5:30.
LON--Kendrevian White 11 run (run failed), 1:26.
MAR--Cam Haller 4 run (Martinez kick), 8:02.
First Downs 25 17
Total Yards 462 461
Rushes-Yards 38-335 43-147
Passing Yards 127 314
Comp.-Att.-Int. 11-23-0 11-16-0
Punts-Avg. 2-34.5 3-19.3
Fumbles-Lost 2-1 1-0
Penalties-Yards 5-35 6-40
RUSHING--Longview, D'Crayvan Polk 20-216, Kendrevian White 7-63, Austin Moore 3-26, Braylynn Anthony 5-23, Michael Ross 3-7. Marshall, Cam Haller 25-128, Chavis Mills 11-33, Justin Hart 7-(-14).
PASSING--Longview, Ross 11-23-0--127. Marshall, Hart 11-16-0--314.
RECEIVING--Longview, Chris Braggs 4-70, Jordan Wyatt 3-22, Moore 2-12, Andrew Washington 1-12, Anthony 1-11. Marshall, Jaquavian Dabbs 5-172, Mills 3-53, Trel Patton 2-77, Bacardi Moore 1-12.