Because Marshall’s football team has wrapped up the district championship game, Friday night’s game against Pine Tree won’t be the last for the Maverick seniors, but head coach Jake Griedl said he hopes to honor the senior class with a win.
“Anytime there’s a coaching change, even though there’s been some consistency with me being here, that senior class is really super critical because they can make you or break you as a first-year-head coach,” Griedl said. “They’ve allowed me to have some success this year as a head coach because of the effort and the commitment to the program. They’ve trusted in me. They’ve trusted in this staff and they’ve trusted in one another. My goal for them is to make sure they go out the right way. We did that district-wise but now we want to do something that hasn’t been done since 1990 and that’s to play in the fourth round and beyond and the fourth round this year is the first time we could play in December. We’ve got to find a way to get better to make sure this class is remembered for a long time here and now just as another class.”
One of the seniors the Mavericks will look to in order to get a win is quarterback Savion Williams who made the switch to the position from wide receiver earlier this season. He’s currently 40-of-76 passing for 949 yards, seven touchdowns and just one interception. On the ground he has 69 carries for 731 yards and 14 touchdowns. Running backs Joe Jordan and Dominique Williams are the No. 9 and 10 leading rushers in the district as they are currently separated by just three yards and are combined for 615 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns.
“Everybody,” Griedl said when asked which of his offensive players he’s looking to step up in Friday night’s game against the Pirates. “It seems like our running backs go back and forth on who’s the leading rusher between those two and obviously Savion (Williams) has been spectacular back there and we’ve got to continue to get him better. Our receivers are blocking their tails off and really making the run game go and when the ball is in the air, they’re making big plays to move the chains. Our O-line is getting better every single week. We’ve got to continue getting better up front. We’ve got to continue being the more physical team up front. So again, it comes, it’s about the Marshall Mavericks, getting better at what we do and focusing on us and not necessarily who our opponent is. We have to do our assignment and do it the best we can.”
Marshall will enter the contest with an overall record of 6-3 and District 9-5A DII record of 6-0 as it goes up against a Pine Tree squad that owns a 5-4 record overall and a district record of 4-2. The Mavericks currently have the district’s No. 2 offense as they have rushed for 2,277 yards and thrown for 1,347 yards for a total of 3,624 yards. They’ll go up against the district’s seventh-ranked defense that has allowed 2,105 rushing yards and 1,583 passing yards for a total 3,688 yards.
“They’re mainly a three-down defense,” Griedl said of the Pirates. “They’re going to run to the football. Their main goal is to stop the run so we’re going to have to take easy yards when we can find them and put forth great effort. We’re going to have to keep executing, find easy yards and not out-coach ourselves, get our players in the right position to make plays.”
Friday night will be senior night for the Mavericks and kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m. at Maverick Stadium. Tickets will be on sale today from 7 a.m. until 2 p.m. and Friday from 7 a.m. until noon at the Y.A. Tittle Athletic Fieldhouse ticket window. Reserved seats cost $7 and $8. General admission is $6 in advance.
During their lunch breaks, MHS and MJHS students may purchase one student ticket to sit in student Section A for $3. No student tickets will be available outside of those hours.