Written by Matt Wixon
Wixon: Duo's 356 rushing yards, five TDs send FM Marcus flying into playoffs
FLOWER MOUND — Each Flower Mound Marcus touchdown Friday night drew cheers from the fans in red and silver at Marauder Stadium. Then came the echo of cheers from the Plano East fans 30 miles to the east.
Marcus needed an impressive win to give it momentum entering the playoffs, and Plano East needed a Marcus win just to get in the playoffs. They both got what they wanted as Marcus powered its way past Hebron, 42-28.
In a game that sent ripples throughout District 8-5A, Marcus again made a huge splash with the smash and flash of running backs Jeff Smiley and Harvey Giddens. The senior duo, with the powerful Giddens busting through the middle and Smiley jetting around the edges, combined for 356 yards rushing and five touchdowns.
Smiley and Giddens, along with an offensive line that opened up huge holes, allowed Marcus (9-1, 6-1) to pull away without throwing a pass in the second half. Their potency ended Hebron’s hopes — and Plano West’s season.
Plano West beat Plano on Friday, but it also needed Hebron (6-4, 4-3) to beat Marcus to make the playoffs. Plano West, Plano East and Hebron all finished 4-3 in district, and the three-way points tiebreaker sends Hebron and Plano East to the playoffs.
Marcus, No. 6 in SportsDay’s Class 5A area rankings, will take on Keller Fossil Ridge at 11 a.m. next Saturday in the start of a 7-5A vs. 8-5A quadrupleheader at Cowboys Stadium. Hebron, ranked No. 10, will face Denton Guyer in the second game at 2 p.m.
Both Marcus and Hebron could be tough outs in the Division II playoffs, but it was the Marauders who looked like state contenders in their third straight win over Hebron.
Marcus took a 14-3 lead early in the second quarter when Josh Carraway knocked the ball out of Hebron quarterback Joseph Farley’s hands and Zachary Miterko fell on it in the end zone. After that, the Marauders’ offense took over.
By running over the Hebron defense.
Marcus scored on its final two possessions of the first half and then scored on its first two of the second half — a four-touchdown spree against Hebron’s typically stingy defense. Giddens (161 yards) and Smiley (195 yards) averaged 7.5 yards per carry against a defense that had been allowing only 122 yards rushing per game.
Marcus passed that total by halftime, and in the second half, the wheels on the bulldozer really gained traction. Hebron scored on its first two drives after halftime, but couldn’t get close because it couldn’t stop Marcus.
On its first two drives of the second half, Marcus drove 74 yards and then 50 to get in the end zone. The two drives took a combined 16 plays, and all of them were runs. The inside-outside combo of Giddens and Smiley was all the balance Marcus needed.
And those weren’t even Marcus’ best drives. The best was the final one, although it didn’t get the Marauders any points. After Hebron trimmed the lead to 42-28 with nearly nine minutes left in the game, Marcus drained the rest of the clock with 14 straight runs that earned five first downs.