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Mavs’ 50-3 Second Half Sends Bulldogs Out

Photo: Michael Sudhalter/Special to The News

By I.C. Murrell | PA News

HOUSTON — Nederland led 21-13 at halftime. Marshall made it a completely different ballgame afterward. Jared Washington’s 62-yard interception return for a touchdown added fuel to Marshall’s comeback, and the Mavericks added kickoff and fumble returns for scores during a 50-3 second half that resulted in a 63-24 win Friday night at NRG Stadium. “You have to come out and almost play four perfect quarters against talent like that,” said Nederland coach Monte Barrow, his team ending its season at the Houston Texans’ home for the second year in a row. “We didn’t do that tonight.” The Bulldogs ended their season 10-2 and co-champions of District 12-5A Division II after starting the season 9-0. The team that handed them their first defeat two weeks ago, Port Neches-Groves, capped off a tripleheader at NRG taking on Lindale.
Nederland quarterback Blaysin Fernandez rushed for a touchdown completed 7 of 9 passes for 107 yards and two scores, but did not return after
halftime after hyperextending his throwing hand. It was one of many games Fernandez did not get to finish this season due to a number of
injuries. “If he missed that much, you know he played with some injuries I don’t think a lot of people could have played with,” Barrow said. “That defines who Blaysin is.” Fernandez missed only one start this season, and that was in last week’s come-from-behind win over Fort Bend Willowridge. Bryce McMorris, who got the starting nod then after Fernandez was a late scratch, went 12 for 27 for 89 yards in relief.
Marshall (10-2) picked off one pass from McMorris and made the Bulldogs pay. As Nederland drove from its own 45 late in the third quarter, Jared Washington ripped a third-and-4 pass away from intended receiver Carsen Arline and returned it 62 yards to put Marshall ahead for good at 28-21.
That wasn’t the only big play that would haunt the Bulldogs. Payne Barrow narrowed the gap to 28-24 early in the fourth with a 29-yard field goal. But Tahj Washington took the ensuing kickoff back 91 yards to begin a 35-point quarter for the Mavericks.
Marcus Jones Jr. then recovered a fumble on a strip-sack by Marshall and took it back 11 yards to the Nederland 20, setting up quarterback J.J.
Green’s keeper the very next play. Green, who went 6 for 12 for 92 yards and three touchdowns, connected from 34 yards to continue the rout with 6:25 remaining. For extra measure, Green fired his third TD catch to Savion Williams, who helped tie the game in the third quarter, and Jabbarius Grant took back an Arline reception 61 yards for the final score.
“They’re a team of front-runners, and when you get momentum like that going on their side, they really feed off the momentum,” Monte Barrow
said. “We knew that coming in. We tried to limit that in the first half. I thought we did a great job of doing that, and once we gave them some
momentum — they took some, too, to give them credit — but we had some self-inflicted things, and once that snowball started, it kept rolling and
we couldn’t stop it.” Both teams scored on their opening drives, with Fernandez hitting Blayne Burnett for a 5-yard score on Nederland’s series. Nederland broke up a fake extra-point play after Marshall went back in front and took a 14-13 lead on Fernandez’s 12-yard toss to fellow senior Adam Roccaforte. Fernandez snuck in from a yard out with 22 seconds left in the half to cap a nine-play, 63-yard march.
Demarcus Williams carried nine times for 105 yards and a Marshall touchdown.

NOT READY TO GO OUT LIKE THAT
Plenty went through the mind of Fernandez, who started each of his three years.
“Everything we ever worked for, everything moment I spent with [teammates], it’s all coming back to me now, getting into my feelings,” he said. “I
couldn’t be more thankful for what we accomplished this year and how well they worked with us. They’re going to be my brothers forever, and I
couldn’t be more thankful to be out there.” The battle-tested quarterback tried to go back and try to help stop the bleeding the Bulldogs suffered, but to no avail. “It was the worst feeling I ever had sitting on the sidelines,” he said. “It’s my last two quarters to watch. It’s definitely something I felt in my gut the whole time.”

ONE-HANDED CATCH
Bulldogs senior Brycen Grusecki made a one-handed catch for an 11-yard gain to the Mavericks’ 12 before time expired in the third quarter. McMorris threw three straight incompletions, however, leading to Barrow’s field goal with the game still hanging in the balance.

THE GAME CHANGED WHEN …
Tahj Washington took the kickoff back 91 yards. He lost the handle in extra-point formation but recovered that and ran for the extra two points.
Nederland had three turnovers, including two fumbles in the final 9:47 that Marshall returned.

THE GAME BALL GOES TO …
Green, who had three TD passes and a scoring run.
NEXT UP …
Marshall will take on Huntsville, which beat Manvel 34-10, in the Region III semifinals.

Mavericks 63, Bulldogs 24
Nederland 7 14 0 3 — 24
Marshall 7 6 15 35 — 63
First quarter
Marshall — J.J. Green 13 run (Melvin Salinas kick), 8:13
Nederland — Blayne Burnett 5 pass from Blaysin Fernandez (Payne Barrow kick), 4:13
Second quarter
Marshall — Demarcus Williams 5 run (run failed), 9:05
Nederland — Adam Roccaforte 12 pass from Fernandez (Barrow kick), 5:57 Nederland — Fernandez 1 run (Barrow kick), 0:22

Third quarter
Marshall — Savion Williams 12 pass from Green (Tahj Washington pass from Green), 4:56
Marshall — Jared Washington 62 interception return (Salinas kick), 2:58
Fourth quarter
Nederland — Barrow 29 kick, 11:38
Marshall — T. Washington 91 kickoff return (T. Washington run), 11:27
Marshall — Green 20 run (Salinas kick) 9:37
Marshall — Dekendrick Bender 34 pass from Green (Salinas kick), 6:25
Marshall — S. Williams 16 pass from Green (Salinas kick), 3:07
Marshall — Jabarrius Grant 61 fumble return (kick failed), 1:39
Ned Marsh
First downs 15 17
Rushes-yards 30-121 34-274
Passing yards 196 126
Total yards 317 400
Comp-Att-Int 19-36-1 7-13-0
Fumbles-lost 2-2 0-0
Penalties-yards 2-20 5-44

Individual statistics
RUSHING — Marshall: Demarcus Williams 9-105, Green 10-93, T. Washington 5-43, Dekendrick Bender 4-18, Treylin Lewis 4-8, Dominique
Williams 1-6, James Thomas 1-1. Nederland: Josh Mazyck 10-57, Ashton Guilbeaux 3-29, Fernandez 10-25, Armani Douglas 3-8, Kyndon
Fuselier 1-3, Carsen Arline 1-1, Bryce McMorris 2-(-2),
PASSING — Marshall: Green 6-12-0, 92; S. Williams 1-1-0, 34. Nederland: Fernandez 7-9-0, 107; McMorris 12-27-1, 89.
RECEIVING — Marshall: S. Williams 4-41, Bender 1-34, Green 1-34, T. Washington 1-17. Nederland: Blayne Burnett 5-74, Carsen Arline 4-17,
Douglas 1-32, Brycen Grusecki 2-21, Roccaforte 2-17, Kyndon Fuselier 2-16, Landon Hiltz 2-12, Mazyck 1-3.

Countdown To Mid County Madness

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