After taking a week off for its bye week last week, Marshall’s football team will be back in action Friday night when it opens up District 9-5A Division II play on the road against the Pine Tree Pirates.

The matchup will feature a 1-2 Mavericks team going up against a 2-1 Pirates squad.

Marshall’s defense will face guys like Pine Tree quarterback Dakylan Johnson who is currently 22-of-45 for 496 yards, five touchdowns and two interceptions. He has a target in Jonathon Fuller who has caught 14 passes for 322 yards and four touchdowns. Ethan Morgan leads the Pirates’ rushing attack with 59 carries for 482 yards and three touchdowns.

“They’re good up front,” Marshall athletic director and head football coach Jake Griedl said of the Pirates. “They’ve got a good offensive line. They’ve got a sophomore quarterback, a good-sized kid with a very talented arm. They’ve got two playmakers at receiver so it’s kind of the perfect ingredients for a normal Pine Tree offense. That’s what they want. They want one or two playmakers at receiver and they have those guys. They want a big offensive line, they have those guys and they want a pretty good quarterback and they’ve got that guy. Their running back is a smaller guy but he’s shifty and great finding creases and exploiting gaps that aren’t filled. We’re going to have to do a good job of staying in our gap and playing football.”

In order to stop to Pine Tree’s offense, the Mavericks will look to guys like defensive end Carson Combs, LB Terrell Davis and defensive back James Perkins, among others.

“Our defensive line has got to play great football and our linebackers have to get down,” Griedl added. “Our secondary has to be great at defending second-level throws. We’ve just got to play good defense. Pine Tree is good at what they do. I’m sure coach (Kerry) Lane will have a few tricks up his sleeves. We’ll have to make adjustments. They’ll show us some things that we haven’t seen them do, that may be out of character for them that they’ve been working on, so we’ll have to make adjustments and ultimately, the kids need to play hard.”

Kickoff for Friday’s game is slated for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff at Pirate Stadium in Longview.

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