MARSHALL - As the Marshall Mavericks were lined up in victory formation to take a kneel and put their finishing touches on their 50-20 win over the Sulphur Springs Wildcats, players on Marshall’s sideline gave head coach Claude Mathis a Gatorade bath for earning his 100th career win as a head coach.
With the win, the Mavs advanced to 2-4 overall and 2-0 in District 16-5A play. The Wildcats are 2-4 overall and 0-2 against district opponents.
The Mavs finished the night with 485 total yards, 222 coming through the air with 263 coming on the ground. They tallied up 20 first downs on the night.
Quarterback J.J. Green went 9-of-21 for 222 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. He connected with Se’Lah Smith three times for 96 yards and one touchdown, and Tahj Washington twice for 36 yards and two touchdowns. DeKendrick Bender also had two catches for 56 yards. Green was also the team’s leading rusher with 110 yards and one touchdown. Rodarius Smith had 97 yards and one touchdown.
The Wildcats finished the night with 284 yards, passing for 115 and rushing for 169 and coming away with 19 first downs. Ryan Humphreys was 14-of-26 for 115 yards. Colton Allen had 13 carries for 109 yards and one touchdown. Searn Rodgers had five carries for 12 yards and one touchdown.
Marshall faked the punt on fourth down of the game’s first drive with a direct snap to Demarcus Alexander gave the Mavs a first down and kept the drive alive. That led to a 28-yard FG by Jacob Suarez to give Marshall a 3-0 lead with 6:35 left in the first quarter.
The Wildcats responded when Allen sprinted 49 yards to the end zone for the game’s first touchdown to give Sulphur Springs a 7-3 lead with 4:24 left in first quarter.
They added to that lead when Rodgers went up the middle for a 10-yard run to make it 14-3 with 8:31 left in the first quarter.
The Mavs narrowed the gap when Green found Smith, who took it for a 68-yard touchdown pass to make it 14-10 with 7:43 left in the first half. Those were the last points scored in the first half as the two teams went into the locker rooms.
Green scrambled around from sideline to sideline as he dodged defenders before launching a pass to Washington for a 28-yard touchdown pass. That gave the Mavs their first lead of the night, 17-14 with 5:43 left in the third quarter.
Rodarius Smith took the ball up the middle and 72 yards later, he was in the end zone to spread Marshall’s lead to two possessions, 24-14, with 3:18 left in the third quarter.
Green found Chandler Kelehan for a 27-yard gain before he found Washington for another touchdown, this one coming from eight yards out to put the Mavericks on top 31-14.
Rashard Jackson blocked a Sulphur Springs punt and it was picked up by Marje Smith who ran it into the end zone to make the score 37-14 with 10:34 left in the game.
After Sulphur Springs forced a turnover, backup quarterback D’Corian Young ran up the middle for a seven-yard touchdown. That cut Marshall’s lead to 37-20 with 7:11 left in the fourth quarter.
Only 11 seconds later, Green showed what he can do with his feet when he took it up the middle and scrambled for a 53-yard touchdown run to make it 43-20 with seven minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.
Once again, the Wildcats were punting from deep in their own territory. The snap sailed over the punter’s head as he ran back and threw a pass that was intercepted by Tre Macon who took it into the end zone for another Marshall touchdown. Melvin Salinas tacked on the extra point and that made it 50-20 with 4:20 left in regulation.
The Mavericks went on to seal up the win and celebrated their coach’s milestone achievement.
The Mavericks will return to action Friday when they travel to Mount Pleasant. The Wildcats are slated to play host to the Texas High Tigers.