|LONGVIEW - Marshall kept the Longview defense on its heels with an assortment of plays and shutdown the Lobos' running game to nab a 34-14 win and a playoff spot Friday night at Lobo Stadium.
The victory sends the Mavs into the bi-district round against Round Rock, tentatively set for next Saturday at 1 p.m. at Pennington Field in Bedford. Marshall is 6-3 on the season and the third-place team in District 13-5A. John Tyler and Lufkin are the other postseason reps.
Longview closes out at 4-5-1 and under .500 for the first time since 1971.
The Mavs used a variety of draws, traps, sweeps, as well as little-used Corey Alexander at running back, plus the passing game to control the ball and befuddle the Longview defense. The end result was 342 yards - 180 yards passing, 162 passing - and 98 with two touchdowns for Alexander, who replaced Ivory Stoker, the team's leading rusher.
Longview could muster only 47 yards, just 11 rushing, in the second half and finished with 158 total yards.
Quarterback James Page hit 12 of 21 passes for 180 yards, including a 19-yard strike to tight end Reggie Jones in the third quarter, and capped the scoring with a four-yard keeper in the final quarter. Chris Lee also booted two field goals.
Marshall drove the ball for 8:51 in the stretch, but the Lobos had scored on the first play of the stanza and then on the next-to-last play of the period to slice into the Mavs' advantage. Only a first-quarter, 32-yard Chris Lee field goal separated the two teams.
Each team had two turnovers in the first half, too.
Longview, following a Jeremiah Mathis fumble at the Marshall 24-yard line on the last play of the opening quarter, inserted Cory Hutchings at quarterback and he sprinted around the rgithe end on first down for a touchdown a 7-3 lead after Chris Harris' point after.
Mixing up the offense, Page guided the Mavs 80 yards on the ensuing possession and put his team back out in front, 10-7, with 6:18 left in the first half. He converted a key fourth-and-one situation with a three-yard gain to keep the drive alive and Alexander went in from five yards for the scope.
When Longview was unable to field the ensuing pooch kick, Marshall recovered at the Lobos' 34. Alexander scored nine plays later from the two with 3:17 left. The big play was an 11-yard Alexander gain to the three-yard line on fourth-and-six. The run boosted the Marshall lead to 17-7.
Longview's Kevin Miles was intercepted on first down after the kickoff, but Marshall fumbled two plays later and Mathis made the recovery.
Hutchings hit Daydrion Taylor on a 42-yard screen play to the Marshall four-yard line on a third-and-12 and three plays later Hutchings went in from one for his second touchdown.
At the half, Marshall had a 136-111 advantage in yards and a 39-22 margin in plays.