By Landan Kuhlmann
Two area high school football teams vying for spots in the state semifinals fell short last Saturday afternoon.
The Marshall Buffalos were denied a third straight trip to the Class 5A Division II state semifinals, losing 37-28 in a seesaw battle with the Crosby Cougars. The Ridge Point Panthers, meanwhile, were unable to take down the state’s top-ranked Class 6A squad, losing 56-14.
At Turner Stadium in Humble, Marshall was unable to hold onto multiple second-half leads, ending its bid for a third consecutive trip to the state finals in a game that featured five lead changes.
Following a defensive struggle in the first half that saw Marshall take a 7-6 advantage into the locker room courtesy of 26-yard touchdown reception by Chris Marshall, both offenses revved it up in the second half. Marshall’s second touchdown catch late in the third quarter put the Buffalos back on top 14-9, shortly before he was ejected from the game as the result of committing two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties.
A Javion Matthews rushing touchdown run early in the final stanza put Marshall up by two scores, but the Cougars came roaring back with 15 unanswered points to retake the lead. Barely a minute later, Marshall quarterback Roland Harvey found Matthews for a 27-yard scoring toss that Matthews hauled in – despite a defender being draped all over him – to give Marshall back a 28-24 lead. However, the Cougars answered right back with two late touchdowns and a key defensive stop to steal the game.
Marshall finished the season with a 12-1 overall record.
Just down the road in Galena Park, the Panthers saw a historic season come to an end at the hands of top-ranked North Shore. Ridge Point ended the season with an 8-3 overall record.
In his final high school game, running back Keith Jackson punched in two scores to account for all of Ridge Point’s offensive output. Jackson, who is committed to the University of North Texas, finished his senior season with more than 1,100 yards and 19 touchdowns. Over his three-year varsity career, he accumulated more than 1,700 rushing yards along with 25 touchdowns.
The Panthers will lose Jackson along with their three leading receivers to graduation next season. However, they will retain their quarterback in Bert Emanuel Jr., who accounted for more than 1,800 total yards and 21 touchdowns along with being the team’s second leading rusher.