Marshall’s football saw its senior night spoiled and its postseason hopes broken as it fell to Nacogdoches in a 28-13 final on Friday at Maverick Stadium.
With the win, Nacogdoches earns the fourth playoff spot out of District 9-5A Division II as the Dragons advance with an overall record of 5-4 and a district record of 4-3. Marshall’s season comes to an end with a final record of 5-5 and a district record of 3-4. It’s the first time since 2012 that the Mavericks have missed the playoffs.
Marshall came away with 12 first downs on the night, rushed for 101 yards and passed for 94 for a total of 195. Brent Burris went 11-of-24 passing for 94 yards and one interception. Demarcus Williams led the rushing attack with 79 yards and one touchdown.
Nacogdoches had 21 first downs and passed for 217 yards and rushed for 135 for a total of 352 yards. Reid Boyett went 17-of-29 for 217 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Eddie Cross had nine carries for 76 yards and two scores. D’Marea Weaver caught seven passes for 98 yards while Dillon Williams had three receptions for 54 yards and two touchdowns.
Nacogdoches drove down the field on the opening drive before making a field goal but a false-start penalty was called against the Dragons, forcing them to take another shot. The results were not the same on the second attempt, leaving the game scoreless and giving the Mavericks their first possession.
It only took Marshall three plays to drive 79 yards when Demarcus Williams ran 43 yards to the end zone to draw first blood. Buck Buchanan tacked on the extra point to give the Mavericks a 7-0 lead with 5:54 left in the first quarter.
Buchanan added to his team’s lead with 45-yard field to spread Marshall’s lead to 10-0.
The Dragons drove down to the Marshall one-yard line where they tried to punch it into the end zone but instead, they coughed it up and it was recovered by the Mavericks, leaving the Dragons still in search of their first points.
The Dragons made the most of their next opportunity after forcing the Mavericks to punt, giving Nacogdoches the ball at around midfield. Boyett connected with Dillon Williams on a screen pass as he sprinted to the end zone for a 50-yard score to put the Dragons on the scoreboard. Chris Landeros tacked on the extra point to make the score 10-7 with 6:52 remaining in the second quarter.
Coming out of the wildcat formation, Cross made spin moves and broke tackles that allowed him to get the ball down the Marshall two-yard line. A few plays later, the Dragons were faced with fourth-and-goal from the three-yard line and opted to go for it instead of settling for the tie. Boyett found Dillon Williams in the end zone for a three-yard score to give the Dragons their first lead of the night with just 28 seconds remaining in the first half.
Marshall had one more shot to jump back on top and moved the ball down the field but was unable add points on the scoreboard as the two teams went into the locker room with a halftime score of 14-10.
The first points of the third quarter came on a three-yard run from Cross to spread his team’s lead to 21-10 with 4:41 left in the third quarter.
Buchanan nailed a 41-yard field goal on the first play of the fourth quarter to make the score 21-13 with 11:56 remaining in regulation.
Cross scored the final touchdown of the night on another three-yard run to make it 28-13 with 4:44 left.
Marshall threatened late by getting the ball inside Nacogdoches’ 10 yard line but a turnover on downs gave the ball back to the Dragons who drained the clock and lined up in victory formation.
The Dragons will take on Huntsville in bi-district.