PREVIEW: Marshall Looks to Keep Hot Streak Going Vs. Nederland
CLASS 5A DIVISION II
Region III Area Playoff
Marshall Mavericks (9-2)
Nederland Bulldogs (10-1)
4 p.m. Friday
NRG Stadium, Houston
- Marshall: Claude Mathis
- Nederland: Monte Barrow
- Marshall: def. Rosenberg Lamar Consolidated, 56-14
- Nederland: def. Fort Bend Willowridge, 22-16
- Winner vs. Huntsville or Manvel, 5A Division II regional semifinal
Players to watch
- QB JJ Green, Jr., 6-4, 170 (122 of 208, 2,091 yards, 29 TDs, 7 INTs; 87 carries, 626 yards, 5 TDs)
- WR Tahj Washington, Sr., 5-11, 168 (37 catches, 668 yards, 9 TDs; 24 carries, 258 yards, 3 TDs)
- WR De'Kendrick Bender, Sr., 6-2, 196 (28 catches, 509 yards, 8 TDs; 32 carries, 328 yards, 7 TDs; 6 of 12, 139 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT)
- WR Savion Williams, Jr., 6-5, 203 (34 catches, 564 yards, 9 TDs; 9 carries, 37 yards)
- LB Brevin Randle, Sr., 6-0, 215
- S Champ Mathis, Sr., 5-10, 170
- DE Mike Washington, Soph., 5-11, 210
- RB Treylin Lewis, Sr., 5-10, 178 (85 carries, 535 yards, 4 TDs; 2 catches, 28 yards)
- QB Blaysin Fernandez, Sr., 5-11, 185
- WR Blayne Burnett, Sr., 6-0, 180
- WR Adam Roccaforte, Sr., 5-10, 150
- RB Armani Douglas, Sr.
- WR Bryson Grusecki, Sr., 6-0, 170
- WR Carsen Arline, Sr., 5-10, 175
Just the facts
- Marshall is averaging 41.7 points and 442 yards per game -- 225.6 rushing and 216.4 passing.
- The Mavericks are outscoring opponents by an average of 30.5 points during their current eight-game winning streak.
- The cumulative record of Marshall's opponents is 65-51 (.560).
- Marshall is allowing 22.8 points per game.
- Nederland is averaging 32.2 points per game.
- The Bulldogs have scored just 43 points since beginning the season 9-0.
- The cumulative record of Nederland's opponents is 58-58 (.500).
- Nederland is allowing 18.3 points per game.
Key matchup: Marshall passing attack vs. Nederland secondary. The Mavericks are more than capable of running the football, as they come into Friday's area-round playoff averaging 225 rushing yards per game. But when Marshall is at its best offensively, it is taking advantage of its strong-armed quarterback and fleet of Division I-caliber receivers. Junior quarterback JJ Green has passed for almost 2,100 yards and 29 touchdowns in 11 games, and he's spread the wealth to the trio of Tahj Washington, De'Kendrick Bender, and Savion Williams, all of whom will be playing college football in a year or two. Washington, Bender, and Williams have combined for 26 touchdown receptions, and accounted for 71 percent of the team's receiving yardage and 76 percent of the scoring receptions. Marshall will sprinkle in the running game with designed runs for Green, and conventional handoffs to running back Treylin Lewis, but expect to see several shots downfield from the Marshall offense.
Nederland has allowed only one team to score 30 points this season, and that came in the regular-season finale against Port Neches-Groves and its talented junior dual-threat quarterback Roschon Johnson, who is committed to Texas. The Bulldogs were burned by Johnson on the ground, surrendering 258 rushing yards and five touchdowns to PNG's talented signal-caller. On the flip side, Nederland contained Johnson's effectiveness as a passer, limited him to 8 of 18 passing for 93 yards. Green isn't quite the runner Johnson is, but his arm talent is similar and has a more talented group of receivers at his disposal. Nederland must keep Marshall's dynamic passing attack from taking control of the game.
Don't be surprised if: Friday's game isn't decided until the fourth quarter. Nederland's defense is the best Marshall has seen since Week 2 of the season against Longview, and the Bulldogs' offense will be going up against a Marshall defense that is allowing just 15.9 points during the Mavs' eight-game winning streak. It seems unlikely either defense will let the opposing offense run away and hide. As always, turnovers and penalties in close game, will be a deciding factor. Green has been excellent at protecting the football in recent weeks, holding a 14-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio over the last six games.