The Marshall Mavericks and head coach Clint Harper are off to a quick start in 2015 behind an offense that scored 117 points in the first two games of the season.

The Mavericks, a team that reached the Class 5A Division II area round of the state playoffs last year, are 2-0 after wins against Royce City and Crandall. The defense gave up just 20 points in that span.

“We’ve done a good job of getting our athletes the ball in space,” said Harper of his offense’s early-season success. “We’ve been blessed here in Marshall to have athletes that can go and make plays for us. We have guys like Cam Haller, Chavis Mills and Trel Patton to spread the ball around to and an offensive line that is doing a great job helping us get our guys to the second level.”

Athletes like Mills and Haller may get the big stats, but Harper says the Marshall offense hinges on quarterback Justin Hart.

“I could count on two hands, well, probably even just one hand how many Class 5A or 6A programs have a quarterback who has started since his freshman season. He has four years of experience and we’re blessed to have that back at the position to lead our team. He gets everything going,” Harper said. “He can make all the throws and we have all the weapons. I told our offensive line ‘if we can block them well up front we’re going to score some points,' and I believe that."

In a district with an even number of teams (eight), Harper had the choice on where to use the open-week before district play began. Unlike in previous years, Harper chose to take his open-week the week before the last non-district game, which will take place this week at home against Arkansas High.

Harper felt his team performed poorly in the first quarter of each of the previous two games after an open week, so he chose to move it up a week earlier to avoid doing that in a district game.

“It was the first time I’ve chosen to do that, but it’ll be all be about how we play. If we win the next two games and look good then I’ll probably use this tactic every season,” he said. “I felt we needed to change it up, so I decided to play with it a little bit and see what it does. It’ll all be decided by how we play. I’ve had early bye weeks and late bye weeks at previous jobs, so you just adjust.”