By Landan Kuhlmann
Though much of the focus remains on the offensive firepower, the Marshall football team also boasted the stingiest defense in District 11-5A, surrendering a total of 20 points in nine regular-season games this year.
Last Thursday night, the Buffalos needed all of it to reach the area round of the playoffs for the fifth straight season.
The Buffalos narrowly defeated Port Neches-Groves 21-14, picking up head coach James Williams’ 100th career win at the school in the process. Marshall will next clash with Montgomery at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Randall Reed Stadium in New Caney.
In a game where its offense lacked the usual punch, the running game still led the way for Marshall in a tight game it never trailed. Runderick Dudley scored his 16th rushing touchdown of the season, while Jy’Adrian Wortham’s third-quarter score proved to be the winner. Quarterback Roland Harvey also threw his 20th touchdown pass
of the season, to Chris Marshall, in the first quarter.
On the defensive side, the Buffalos stifled the Indians’ high-powered offense (34.2 points per game coming in) with Adari Haulcey providing a key diving interception near the goal line in the fourth quarter to snuff out the Indians’ rally.
Ridge Point rolls
The Ridge Point Panthers showed little complacency coming off a District 20-6A title, running over the Katy Seven Lakes Spartans 56-20 last Friday night at Hall Stadium in Missouri City to reach the area round for the seventh time in eight years.
The Panthers (6-2) advance to face Jersey Village in the area round at 4 p.m. Saturday at Legacy Stadium in Katy. Ridge Point used a balanced attack to blitz the Spartans out of the gate, rushing out to a 35-0 lead at halftime and not looking back.
Senior running back and University of North Texas commit Keith Jackson had his way with the Seven Lakes’ defense, tallying 179 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Alson Monroe and Ezell Jolly added late scores as part of a 324-yard attack for Ridge Point.
Quarterback Bert Emanuel Jr. went 10-for-14 passing for 201 yards and a career-high four touchdowns to balance out the Panthers’ attack. Two of those scores went to Oklahoma State commit John Paul Richardson, who has a team-leading nine touchdown catches this season.
In other playoff action, Travis fell to Tompkins 42-10 to end its season at 4-4, while Willowridge lost to Crosby 66-0 to finish at 73. Elkins forfeited its game against Katy to finish the season at 2-6.
Class 5A Division I Area Playoff: Hightower vs. Pflugerville Hendrickson, 7 p.m. (Waller ISD Stadium)
Class 5A Division II Area Playoff: Marshall vs. Montgomery, 7:30 p.m. (Randall Reed Stadium)
Class 6A Division I Area Playoff: Ridge Point vs. Jersey Village, 4 p.m. (Legacy Stadium)