Senior night was friendly to at least one senior Friday night — Savion Williams, who had 23 carries for 191 yards and four touchdowns in an effort to escape the Pine Tree Pirates in a 38-33 final at Mavericks Stadium.
The win gives the Mavs an overall record of 7-3 and a District 9-5A record of 7-0 while the Pirates went 5-5 overall and 4-3 against district opponents.
Pine Tree outgained Marshall 512-447 in total yards. The Pirates had 220 yards through the air and 292 on the ground. D.J. Freeman went 14-of-32 for 220 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Ashton Strange had 15 carries for131 yards and one score.
Marshall rushed for 428 yards on the ground and 19 through the air. Joe Jordan had 11 carries for 99 yards and one touchdown.
Marshall’s defense jumped offsides on third down to keep the Pirates’ drive alive. However, the drive came to an end when Marshall held the Pirates at the on goal-line stand. The ball then went to Marshall inside its own one-yard line for the Mavs’ first possession of the game. Marshall moved the ball down the field before Savion Williams went the distance on a 68-yard run to cap off a 99-yard drive. That gave Marshall an early 6-0 lead before Angel Mendieta tacked on the extra point to make it 7-0 with 4:25 left in the first quarter.
Pine Tree turned the ball over on downs for the second straight time in as many possessions of the night. A few plays later, Demarcus Williams deep in Pirate territory with a 38-yard run. A penalty, combined with a solid defensive effort from the Pirates forced a Marshall punt.
The Pirates’ next possession saw them convert on a fourth-and-long but the next play saw Kevin Pinson intercept a pass in the end zone to give the ball back to the Mavericks. A series of penalties called against the Mavericks put them at their own 19-yard line to set up second-and-31. That set up another Marshall punt as Pine Tree took over at its own 40-yard line. The first play of that drive saw Freeman and Sparkman connect for a 57 yard gain. That set up a three-yard touchdown run on the keeper from Freeman to put Pine Tree on the scoreboard. The PAT was unsuccessful, making the score 7-6 in favor of Marshall with 2:52 left in the first half.
Savion Williams made it a two possession game again with his second touchdown run of the night, this one coming on a 33-yard keeper to the end zone with 33 seconds left in the first half, making the halftime score 14-6.
The first touchdown of the second half came when Savion Williams when he scored from 56 yards away. That spread Marshall’s lead to 21-6 with 3:16 left in the third. A couple plays later, Pinson leaped up to make his second interception of the night but the Mavs turned it over on downs.
After just 20 seconds into the fourth quarter, Strange rushed for a 20-yard touchdown. The Pirates were unable to come away with the two-point conversion as the score was 21-12 with 11:40 left in the fourth quarter. The Pirates kicked and recovered a surprise onside kick. That set up their next touchdown when Adams rushed it in from 11 yards. Brandt Herber tacked on the extra point to make it a two-point game, 21-19 with 10:20 left in the fourth quarter.
Pine Tree attempted another onside kick but this time it was recovered by Demarcus Williams who returned it to the 14-yard line. Jordan took it from there to give his team a two-possession lead, 28-19 with 9:24 left in regulation. Moments later, Marshall gave itself some breathing room with a 30-yard field goal from Mendieta. That made the score 31-19 with 5:36 remaining.
Savion Williams scored his final touchdown of the night on a seven-yard keeper. That spread his team’s lead to 38-19 with 1:19 left to play.
Freeman and Sparkman connected for another touchdown, this one come from 42 yards away to put the Pirates within 12 points, 38-26 with just 28 seconds to go. An unsportsmanlike penalty went against the Mavericks for the upcoming kickoff as the Pirates took advantage by kicking and recovering another onside kick. Freeman then found Strange for a 16-yard touchdown pass to make it a one-possession game, 38-33 with just eight seconds left. The Pirates were unable to recover their next onside kick as the Mavericks took a knee to put the nail in the coffin and seal up the 38-33 win.
Both teams will be in action for the bi-district round of the playoffs. The Mavs will be at home for that first round as they play host to Huntsville, the team that defeated Marshall in the third round last year. The Pirates will travel to take on A&M Consolidated.