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Marshall turns back Hightower in overtime thriller

September 11, 2018

Hightower forced overtime for the second consecutive week Sept. 7 at Hall Stadium. Unfortunately for the Hurricanes, the ending was similar.

Marshall forced a Hightower fumble on the first play of overtime and sealed a 31-25 victory when Alontai Brewer scored from two yards out. The Buffalos led by two scores twice, including the fourth quarter, but were eventually able to overcome Hightower rallies.

“At the end of the day - win,” Marshall coach James Williams said. “We made some mistakes. We got up 12 early. We let them come back. We got up again in the fourth quarter and let them come back. But we work on that instinct to finish, to compete. We pulled out at the end. The guys buckled down when they needed to.”

Marshall improved to 2-0, including its 28-21 victory against Eisenhower. The Hurricanes did not make it easy, rallying for a 16-12 lead on quarterback Brandon Smith’s 27-yard option keeper on fourth down.

Marshall answered with Devon Achane touchdown for a 19-16 lead, set up by his own 49-yard run on a reverse. The Buffalos seemed to put the game away when fourth-down sack by Nautica McCarther preceded a 52-yard touchdown sprint by Achane for a 25-16 advantage.

But Hightower, which rallied for overtime in a 37-30 loss to Travis in Week 1, came back again as Isaiah Essissima turned a short pass into a 40-yard touchdown.

An interception by Kobie Campbell set up Hightower’s game-tying drive, with a thrilling 45-yard catch and run by Omar Whitmore setting up Alexander Martinez’s 28-yard, game-tying field goal with 4:15 remaining.

Marshall, who will add another talented quarterback to the roster later this season in transfer Malik Hornsby, showed big-play ability in every phase. Williams saw several positives but also correctable mistakes.

“Little things can make a difference on both sides of the ball,” Williams said. “We had opportunities to make a tackle. We missed and gave up big plays. One thing we take pride in as a team is not turning the ball over on offense. Today we turned the ball over like five times. So we put ourselves in situations. We correct that, I think it’s a different story.”

Achane started the explosive plays immediately, running back the opening kickoff 80 yards for a 6-0 lead. Dominick Houston-Shepard hauled in a 29-yard touchdown pass from Kacey Barnett before the end of the first quarter.

Hightower answered immediately, cutting the lead to 12-7 before the break as Smith broke loose for a 54-yard touchdown.

The Hurricanes drove down to the Marshall two-yard line on their next possession and opted for a fourth-down try. McCarther stopped Smith at the goal line to preserve the lead.

Hightower earned another chance as Ty Lemon intercepted a deep pass. Sparked by two runs for 30 yards by Trevon Johnson, the Hurricanes closed within 12-10 on a 29-yard field goal by Alexander Martinez.

Marshall appeared to have a chance to extend its lead after a sack by Jailen Rice resulted in a fumble recovery by McCarther. The Buffalos drove inside the 30 but Barnett lost the ball on a hit and Derrck Sasser recovered for Hightower.

Hightower finishes non-district play with former district foe Dulles. Marshall takes on Milby this week.

WEEK 2 SCORES

Sept. 6

Kempner 39, Alvin 35

Bush 23, Langham Creek 20

Elkins 40, Sterling 24

Willowridge 41, Westbury 9

Lamar Consolidated 27, Brazoswood 0

Westfield 53, Alief Taylor 6

Sept. 7

Mayde Creek 44, Fort Bend Austin 31

Clements 42, Spring Woods 0

Marshall 31, Hightower 25 (OT)

North Shore 44, Ridge Point 0

George Ranch 27, Clear Lake 24 (OT)

Fulshear 42, Hargrave 26

Oak Ridge 60, Elsik 13

Port Lavaca Calhoun 28, Stafford 7

Brazos 49, Ganado 27

East Bernard 19, Hitchcock 18

Needville 64, St. Thomas 58

Fort Bend Chargers 78, Mount Carmel Academy 30

St. John XXIII 34, Fort Bend Christian 3

Sept. 8

Foster 52, Travis 38

Dulles 41, Terry 27

Cypress Falls 21, Hastings 7

WEEK 2 STARS

Pierre Djunga, Clements

Djunga led a balanced Rangers offense with 76 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries. Daniel Amante, Chris Vann, Patrick Smith and Babawande Onipede all scored in Clements’ best scoring output since 2014. The defense posted the program’s first shutout in a decade.

Vaughnte Frederick, Willowridge

Frederick rushed for 124 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries, adding touchdown passes to Chris Carter for 50 yards and Latrell Neville for 43 yards as the Eagles defeated Westbury 41-9.

Myles Heard, Dulles

Heard carried 23 times for 162 yards and the game’s final two touchdowns with the score tied as the Vikings defeated Terry 41-27 to improve to 2-0. Cameron Peters threw three touchdown passes.

Jordan Shelton, Kempner

Shelton carried 21 times for 211 yards and four touchdowns, including a 48-yard run with five minutes left for a 39-35 victory against Alvin. He also scored on runs of 53 and 39 yards in the first half.

Ashton Stredick, Needville

The Blue Jays needed every one of Stredick’s remarkable 318 yards and six touchdowns on 30 carries in a 64-58 victory against St. Thomas. Kenny Hrncir added 182 rushing and 194 passing yards as Needville remained unbeaten.

Ryan Stubblefield, Foster

Stubblefield passed for 282 yards and six touchdowns with only one interception, connecting with Cody Jackson for 142 yards and five touchdowns as the Falcons defeated Travis 52-38.

Kolby White, Elkins

White led a game filled with big plays, including his 50-yard punt return for a score and touchdown catches of 58 and 72 yards. He finished with 153 yards on five receptions, while Cameron George accounted for 274 yards and four touchdowns.

WEEK 3 SCHEDULE

Sept. 13

Seven Lakes vs. Fort Bend Austin, 7 p.m., Mercer Stadium

Marshall vs. Milby, 7 p.m., Hall Stadium*

Alief Taylor vs. Bush, 7 p.m., Crump Stadium

Sept. 14

Paetow vs. Clements, 7 p.m., Mercer Stadium

Kempner vs. Hastings, 7 p.m., Hall Stadium

Travis vs. Spring, 7 p.m., George Stadium

Chavez vs. Elkins, 7 p.m., Barnett Stadium

Lamar Consolidated vs. Terry, 7 p.m., Traylor Stadium

Foster vs. Magnolia West, 7:30 p.m., Mustang Stadium

Fulshear vs. Lake Creek, 7:30 p.m., Montgomery ISD Stadium

Elsik vs. Shadow Creek, 7 p.m., Crump Stadium

Brazos vs. Danbury, 7:30 p.m., Humber Field

East Bernard vs. Boling, 7:30 p.m., Bulldog Stadium

Needville vs. Corpus Christi Calallen, 7:30 p.m., Wildcat Stadium

Stafford vs. Bellville, 7:30 p.m., Brahma Stadium

Fort Bend Chargers vs. Annapolis Christian Academy, 7 p.m., Kerr Field

Sept. 15

Dulles vs. Hightower, 6 p.m., Mercer Stadium

Ridge Point vs. Dekaney, 6 p.m., Hall Stadium

George Ranch vs. Clear Springs, 6 p.m., Traylor Stadium

Logos Prep at Calvert, 7 p.m., Wilkerson Field

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