Top 25 Games Of 2017: No. 22, Marshall At Longview
The 107th meeting between Longview and Marshall would have been exciting just for the fact it's the latest installment in Texas' oldest high school football rivalry. This year's edition isn't just any ordinary rivalry meeting, however.
This Sept. 8 meeting at Lobo Stadium could be a statement game for new Mavericks coach Claude Mathis. He's never led Marshall in this particular series, but he has seen Longview a handful of times in the past as the longtime head coach at DeSoto High School. In fact, Mathis considers Lobos head coach John King a personal friend, and that factored into his latest career move.
Mathis is back on the high school level after two seasons as SMU's running backs coach, and this Week 2 game will be his first major opportunity to put the high school sphere back on notice. Marshall has struggled against Longview in recent years.
The Lobos own a 15-1 head-to-head record since 2000 and won last year's game 56-7. That avenged the program's one loss this century.
Longview brings back 12 starters from last season's Class 6A Division II bi-district team and has two identified major college football prospects in offensive lineman Marcus Williams and kicker Chris Kessler. The school has a long history of creating even more college prospects through the course of a season.
Marshall has three major college football prospects headlined by LSU offensive lineman commitment Chasen Hines. Left guard Kameron King has pledged to North Texas and defensive end Marje Smith is a Baylor commitment.
The Mavericks have 13 experienced starters back from an underwhelming 6-5 season at the Class 5A level. Marshall went three rounds deep in the postseason a year beforehand.
Talent will certainly be on display, especially in the trenches.
Beyond that, you have a team bent on maintaining control of the series versus a coach hoping to make his mark as early as possible.
This game is a can't-miss.