Mavs dominate Indians in district game

by Arron Swink Contributing Writer

Friday night’s District 9-5A-II contest between the Jacksonville Fightin’ Indians and the Marshall Mavericks was the definition of a “must win” game for the Tribe. Unfortunately, the visitors to Tomato Bowl had other plans. The district-leading Mavs barely missed a beat all night long and rolled to a dominant 45-13 victory in a game that didn’t seem even that close throughout.

Marshall’s offensive lynchpin was their dual threat-quarterback Savion Williams, who opened the scoring with a nine-yard run about nine minutes into the ballgame. The PAT gave Marshall a lead they would never relinquish.

The Mavericks deployed a ball control offense which made extensive use of a two back set to keep the Indian defense guessing where the ball would go on any particular play. One of those feature backs was Demarcus Williams, who added the second Maverick score with a one-yard plunge at the 9:34 mark of the second quarter. Maverick kicker Melvin Salinas booted true and put the Red and Black up by two scores.

The Indians made a deep foray into Mav territory on the next possession, but momentum was squandered when junior quarterback Patrick Clater fumbled, giving possession to Marshall at their own 15-yard line.

From deep in their own red zone, Marshall advanced to the Jacksonville 37 where Savion and Demarcus Williams hooked up for a passing score. Jacksonville’s last drive of the half stalled and the Mavericks took advantage of the last few seconds in the half to add more points. Williams struck with his arm again, finding big-play receiver Lyrik Rawls for a 64-yard touchdown bomb with under a minute to go until halftime. Salinas’ extra point gave MHS the commanding 28-0 lead at the break with the visitors set to receive the second half kickoff.

Not even three minutes into the second half, the Savion Williams show continued – on the ground this time. The speedy QB bolted 20 yards for a score and Salinas drilled the PAT to make it 35-0 and send some Indian fans toward the exits.

As they’ve done throughout the difficult 1-6 campaign so far, the Tribe refused to quit. Their perseverance was rewarded at the 6:30 mark of the third quarter when Clater connected with senior wide receiver Tyrees Gipson on a beautiful 46-yard touchdown play that thrilled the Tribe faithful who stayed to back the Blue and Gold. Unfortunately, JHS’s 2019 kicking struggles continued as senior Alejandro Pina-Sanchez missed the extra point.

When the Mavericks got the ball back, their multi-faceted running attack took on a new look. Running back Joe Jordan toted 51 yards for a highlight-reel worthy TD run. Salinas added the point after.

Clater had more passing fireworks up his sleeve as he found Kasey Canady from six yards out for the final Tribe score of the evening just as the fourth quarter got underway. Pina-Sanchez ended his night on a positive note by splitting the uprights, bring Jacksonville’s final tally to 13.

Marshall would add a field goal from 31 yards to close the scoring ledger and put an exclamation point on their huge win. There could be little doubt after this game that the Mavericks are the class of District 9-5A-Division II.

Jacksonville must regroup before heading to Hallsville to take on the Bobcats this Friday. Both JHS and HHS are winless in district play thus far. Jacksonville fans hoping to hear an Indian victory can listen live at beginning at 6:45 p.m. ahead of a 7:30 kickoff.