Marshall High School’s football season came to an end in the state championship game at AT&T Stadium in Arlington on Dec. 21 as the Aledo Bearcats won 55-19.
The Bearcats won their eighth state title, tying them for the most championships in state history with Southlake Carrol, Katy and Celina. It was also their seventh state championship in 10 years. This was Marshall’s first trip to the championship game, and only the seventh time a Fort Bend ISD football team had played for a state championship.
The Buffalos kept the game close for one and a half quarters before the Bearcats dominant offensive line combined with the power and speed of junior running back Jase McClellan proved to be too much for the Marshall defense.
McClellan opened the scoring with a 42-yard run with 8:18 to go in the first quarter. After a Marshall punt put the ball on the Bearcats one-yard line. McClellan made his only mistake of the game by fumbling in the end zone where Marshall linebacker Frank Miller fell on it to make the score 7-6.
McClellan scored again with 3:42 to go in the first quarter on a 6-yard run. But Marshall quarterback Malik Hornsby scored on a 4-yard run to make the score 14-12 with 10:23 to go in the second quarter.
After that Aledo scored six consecutive touchdowns before Devon Achane caught a 49-yard pass from Hornsby with 1:51 to go in the game. The final score was 55-19. The Buffalos could only generate 140 rushing yards and 129 passing yards in the game, while Aledo rushed for 314-yards and passed for 175-yards.
“Not getting to your ultimate goal is tough. I am really proud of this team for the things that they did. It was a great journey. There were many obstacles along the way. They did the best they could, and they stayed strong the whole journey and they played strong to the very end,” Marshall Head Coach James Williams said.
On Wednesday before the title game, the Buffalos attended a memorial service for Drew Conley, their senior safety who was killed in a domestic disturbance the previous week. At both the semifinal game against Calallen and the championship game, the Buffalos had Conley’s number 3 jersey on the sideline, and they draped the runners-up silver medallion around his jersey after the championship game.
The Buffalos ended the season with a 15-1 record. Coach Williams was voted the District 11 5A Division II coach of the year. Devon Achane was voted district Most Valuable Player, Warren Robinson was voted defensive most valuable player, and Korey King was voted special teams’ player of the year.
Past Fort Bend ISD football state championship games include:
1963: 2A Rockwall 7, Dulles 6
1981: 4A Brownwood 24, Willowridge 9
1982: 4A Willowridge 22, Corsicana 17
1991: 5A-D2 Killeen 14, Dulles 10
2008: 5A-D1 Allen 21, Hightower 14
2011: 5A-D1 Southlake Carroll 36, Hightower 29
2018: 5A-D2 Aledo 55, Marshall 19