After a live half of scrimmage play at Bulldogs Stadium, the scoreboard showed Carthage 14, Marshall 0 Friday night. Marshall head coach Claude Mathis said he saw a lot of improvements from the first scrimmage.

"We were a lot better physically," Mathis said. "We weren't physical at all last week, at all. We came out tonight and we were a lot more physical, a lot more physical. I thought our tackling was better. I thought our alignment assignment was better. We went up and down the field. We just didn't finish. They finished. That's something we've got to get better at right now but when it comes to physicality and our kids having a great attitude, it was all there tonight."

Mathis said he saw some good things from his team and credited the Bulldogs for their effort.

"I take a lot of positives out of it," Mathis said. "They're not ranked No. 1 in the state for nothing. They didn't win a state championship for nothing. Coach (Scott) Surratt has a great ballclub, has a veteran staff. They've been doing this for a long time. I have a whole new staff here. We're making a lot of adjustments."

He added the level of competition the Bulldogs provided will help the Mavs prepare for their season opener against Tyler Lee.

"This was unbelievable man, I'm serious," Mathis continued. "Going against guys like this, playing smash-mouth football, you have to worry about play action. You still have to worry about them running the ball down your throat, you've still got to worry about the bootleg, and then you play a great defense, he man, it's a good warm up game for us before we play Tyler Lee."

This season will be Mathis' first year with Marshall and he said he, his staff and his players are on the same page.

"I had a heart-to-heart with them this week. I had a couple heart-to-hearts with them this week. They know coach Mathis now. I won't be the coach Mathis ever again during that Pleasant Grove week. This is who they're going to get from here on out. I've done my evaluation. I've down my evaluation of my players, my staff, I know what direction I want to go.

"I know for a fact that they know me now," he continued. "I have a great relationship with these kids. It's going to get better. That's one thing, you want to build a relationship with kids. You want them to know you've got their back always and that you're the right man for the job and I am the right man for this job and I have a great staff. They've just got to believe in us. Sometimes when starting off, some kids don't believe in you right away but I know they do now so it's a lot better now. I'm looking forward to next week."

Mathis said there's a lot of work to do to prepare for the Red Raiders.

"We've got to have a good game plan, but I think finishing," he said. "We've got to finish now. That's one of the things that I'm going to harp on this week. Our kids were physical. We set the tone last Monday in practice for the whole week and those kids know we've got to be physical."

Kickoff for Friday's game is slated for 7:30 p.m. at Maverick Stadium.

Sports Editor