@FtBendAthletics: Marshall races past Willowridge

By Bill McCaughey
For the Fort Bend Star

Jabari James prepares to pass Thursday night against Willowridge during Marshall’s 77-20 victory over the Eagles. James was 13-14 for 294 yards and five touchdowns. (Photos by Bill McCaughey)

Willowridge played Marshall even-up for a quarter, but no one beats Marshall in a track meet, and the Buffalos raced to a 77-20 victory last Thursday at Hall Stadium.

Willowridge scored on their opening play from scrimmage, with quarterback Chris Carter running 73 yards around left end to give the Eagles a 7-0 lead. On the ensuing kickoff, Marshall’s Korey King caught the ball on the 20-yard line at the left hashmark, crossed over the field and ran down the right sideline for the tying touchdown, making the score 7-7 after 13 seconds of play.

With 3:35 to go in the first quarter, Devon Achane caught a short pass from Jabari James and ran 65 yards to put the Buffalos up 14-7. But about two minutes later, Vaughnte Frederick caught a 90-yard touchdown from Carter to tie the score at 14. On the Buffalos next possession, Achane caught a 43-yard pass from James to make the score 21-14 at the end of the first quarter.

After that it was all Marshall. In the second quarter, the Buffalos scored on a 15-yard pass from James to Dominic Houston-Sheppard, a 49-yard pass from James to Henry Thomas, a 3-yard run by Jerry Davis, and an 8-yard run by James. Willowridge scored on a 1-yard run by Joe Johnson, but the extra point kick was blocked and Antonio Brooks returned it for 2 points for Marshall. The halftime score was 49-20.

In the second half, Marshall scored on a 26-yard pass from James to Thomas, a 72-yard run by Achane, a 27-yard interception return by Brooks, and a 32-yard run by Michael Jones.

James completed 13 of 14 passes for 294 yards and five touchdowns, and he rushed seven times for 40 yards and a touchdown.

“Both the running game and passing game were good,” James said.

Jerry Davis had 74 yards on 10 rushes and scored a touchdown. Achane scored a 77-yard touchdown on his only carry of the night, and had three pass receptions for 121 yards and two touchdowns. Houston-Sheppard caught two passes for 51 yards and a touchdown, and Henry Thomas had three catches for 86 yards and two touchdowns. Kicker William Hernandez was 9 for 10 on extra point attempts.

“I am proud of the team for playing well,” Marshall head coach James Williams said. “They faced some adversity early but responded well. The defense started the game slow and gave up some big plays because of mental mistakes, but they tightened up from the second quarter on. A lot of lessons to be learned from that game. The offense is playing very well at this time and spreading the ball around.”

Willowridge ran for 177 yards on 35 carries, and completed 6 of 17 passes for 147 yards.

Marshall plays Manvel, currently ranked No. 2 in the state, at Hall Stadium on Saturday.

“We just have to come out and take it to Manvel. We need to be the hammer and not the nail,” Henry Thomas said.

Willowridge plays Elkins on Thursday at Hall Stadium.

Elkins 41, Galena Park 7

Luke Leblanc threw three touchdown passes as Elkins beat Galena Park 41-7 at Galena Park Friday night.

Elkins’ Derwin Cooks started the scoring with a 63-yard run with three minutes to go in the first quarter. Galena Park tied it up at 7 with 10 minutes to go in the second quarter, but the Elkins’ defense shut them down for the rest of the game. Kolby White gave Elkins a 13-7 lead with a 41-yard pass reception from Leblanc to end the half.

In the second half, Patrick Ballard scored on a 38-yard pass from Leblanc, Stephen Parish scored on a 1-yard run, Isiah Nixon caught a 91-yard pass from Leblanc for a touchdown and Nixon ended the scoring with a 67-yard touchdown run.

“Both our offense and defense had solid games,” Elkins head coach Dennis Brantley said. “Quarterback Luke Leblanc threw for 300 yards and three touchdowns. Running backs Darwin Cook had 118 yards rushing and two touchdowns and Isaiah Nixon had 75 yards rushing and two touchdowns. Nixon also had 100 yards receiving. Kolby White, who is leading the district in receptions, had a touchdown. Defensive back Rodney McGraw had a great game. Defensive end Keshawn Jones had an interception for us.”

“We feel much more confident now. Coach Brantley told us this was our best week of practice, and to see it carry to the game has reassured us of what we are capable of,” Leblanc said.

“We came out and did what we had to do. We just need to focus on our next opponent and can’t get caught up in the excitement,” offensive lineman Luke Matthews said.

Elkins plays Willowridge on Thursday at Hall Stadium.

Kempner 42, Austin 35

Joel Adams scored four touchdowns, all in the first half, to lead Kempner over Austin 42-35 last Friday at Mercer Stadium.

Adams started the scoring with a 37-yard run, but Austin answered when Chris Rivers caught a 51-yard pass from Trey Larson. Adams then scored three touchdowns in a row starting with 46-yard pass from Cade Lubojasky, then runs of 39 yards and 46 yards to give the Cougars a 28-7 lead with 3:49 to go in the half. Austin’s Gerard Miller scored on a 4-yard run but the Cougars’ Lubojasky ran it in from 6 yards out to give Kempner a 35-14 halftime lead.

Austin refused to give up as Troy Omeire scored on a 65-yard pass and again on a 20-yard pass from Larson to close the gap to 35-28.

In the fourth quarter, Kempner extended their lead as Dominic Newton scored on a 44-yard pass from Lubojasky. Austin’s Rivers scored on a 10-yard pass from Larson with 2:06 to go in the game but Austin could score no more and the game ended with Kempner up 42-35.

“It was a great team win. We had our ups and downs, but it boiled down to who wanted it more,” Kempner linebacker Jacob Mangum Farrar said. “By God’s grace, we prevailed.”

Kempner rushed for 270 yards on 38 carries and had 90 passing yards.

“We came out really strong in the first half and had all of the momentum. With Joel (Adams) at A back, anything and everything was working on offense,” quarterback Lubojasky said. “We didn’t come out in the second half the way we wanted to, but ultimately we got the job done, and that was to get a win.”

“Our defense played hard all night. Jason May had a key interception,” Kempner head coach Darrin Andrus said. “On offense, the return of Joel Adams really helped us. He had three rushing touchdowns and one receiving touchdown. Dominic Newton had a receiving touchdown, and Freddy Lopez kicked and punted great.”

Austin rushed for 124 yards on 43 carries, and had 242 passing yards.

Kempner plays Bush on Thursday at Mercer Stadium and Austin plays Clements at Mercer on Friday.

Bush 38, Hightower 0

The Bush defense held Hightower to 124 total yards and no points as they cruised to a 38-0 win. Wade Freeman scored on a 1-yard run and Dyshon Hodge scored on a 4-yard run to give the Broncos a 14-0 halftime lead.

In the second half, Wilfredo Guzman kicked a 21-yard field goal, Jamal Morris returned an interception 70 yards for a touchdown, Lawrence Scott scored on a 20-yard pass from Freeman, and Simeon Dotson returned a fumble 20 yards for the Broncos final touchdown.

Bush had 91 rushing yards on 27 carries and completed 10 of 24 passes for 174 yards. The Broncos defense has only allowed seven points in two district games.

“The key to our defense is that we watch film. Film is the key,” defensive back Erick Young said.

On Friday, they recovered four Hurricane fumbles and had a pick-six by Morris.

“Since they weren’t moving the ball on us, I knew they would try a few trick plays. When I saw that the running back was tipping when they threw to him, I just stayed back and the ball came right to me. I took it for six and then partied with my brothers on the sidelines,” Morris said. “Our defense can always get better. We trust each other and we take it one step at a time.”

Bush plays Kempner next Friday at Mercer Stadium, and Hightower plays Dulles at Mercer on Saturday.

Travis 41, Dulles 14

Naveon Mitchell scored five touchdowns to lead Travis past Dulles 41-14 last Thursday at Mercer Stadium.

Dulles scored first on a 21-yard pass from Cameron Peters to DeAndre Moore. Travis responded with a 27-yard run from Mitchell, and Dulles again took the lead on an 18-yard run from Leroy Jackson to make the score 14-6. Travis scored on a run by Mitchell as the first quarter ended making the score Dulles 14 Travis 12.

Travis took the lead for good on a 78-yard run by Arjei Henderson, and Mitchell scored again to make the halftime score 27-14 in favor of Travis.

On the opening kickoff of the second half, Mitchell returned it 93 yards for a touchdown. Mitchell scored on a pass from Amryn Jeffrey to make the final score 41-14.

Travis’ Amryn Jeffrey completed 19 of 28 passes for 282 yards. Mitchell carried five times for 43 yards, and had eight pass receptions for 90 yards.

“I had a great night. The offensive line played well. I couldn’t ask for anything better,” Mitchell said.

Henderson had five receptions for 107 yards.

“We played a really solid game in all three phases. Offensively, our offensive line did a great job of opening holes and protecting Amryn so Naveon, Arjei and Chris Hollins could make big plays. Naveon had one of the best all-around performances you might see. Five carries for 43 yards, two touchdowns, eight catches for 90 yards, two touchdowns, and a 93-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. He is improving every week and really complimenting Arjei Henderson. Their performances are making our offense pretty special,” Travis head coach Trey Sissom said. “Defensively, we came in with a game plan to try to limit Ainias Smith’s big plays and make it difficult on the other Dulles players to get out in space. Linebackers Cassius Bond and Jacob Evans held down the edges well and let Zach Zimos make plays from his safety position. Special teams had two huge plays with a Ryan Izevibigie fumble recovery and Naveon’s touchdown kickoff return.”

For Dulles, Cameron Peters completed 24 passes on 40 attempts for 142 yards. Leroy Jackson had 114 rushing yards on 25 carries, and Griffin Miranda had seven receptions for 44 yards.

Travis plays Ridge Point at Hall Stadium on Friday, and Dulles plays Hightower at Mercer on Saturday.

Ridge Point 56, Clements 0

Ridge Point scored 35 points in the first quarter as they beat Clements 56-0. Aaron Allen completed four of seven passes for 88 yards and three touchdowns. The touchdown passes were to Jeremiah Glaspie for 27 yards, Treveon Hamlin for 33 yards and Adam Bazan for 10 yards.

“We played well. We executed and made plays,” Allen said. “Now we are looking forward to next week’s game against Travis.”

The Panthers rushed for 248 yards on 32 carries. Rushing touchdowns were scored by Mason McBride, 17 yards; John Paul Richardson, 41 yards; and Jevon Hill, 9 yards. Ridge Point also scored touchdowns on a 19-yard interception by Knowledge Smith, and a 22-yard fumble return by Bryson Stewart.

Ridge Point plays Travis on Friday at Hall Stadium, and Clements meets Austin on Friday at Mercer Stadium.

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