LEWISVILLE — For the first time in its storied history, Marcus’ football team has secured back-to-back district titles.
Clinching with a win over rival Lewisville made it all the sweeter.
Behind four touchdown passes from LSU commit Garrett Nussmeier, the Marauders (8-0, 5-0 in District 6-6A) pulled away from the Farmers (5-3, 3-2) late Friday to secure a 58-38 win in the highest-scoring game in series history after previously setting the record a year ago in a 48-42 Marcus win in overtime.
Overall, the Marauders now hold a 19-15-1 advantage in the Battle of the Axe series against the Farmers.
“I am feeling relieved and humbled just because I know the history of Marcus football and we just made more history,” said Kevin Atkinson, Marcus head coach. “To be the first team to win two district championships in a row is just unreal and I can’t say enough about these kids.”
While Marcus’ high-flying offense continues to pile up points, it was the Marauders’ defense that made the difference Friday, holding an equally potent Lewisville attack scoreless in the fourth quarter and adding an interception return for a score, courtesy of Zach Ohlemeier, and a safety after the Farmers had erased an early 14-0 deficit to surge in front, 38-35.
“I told them at halftime that adversity was coming and we have to be ready and it’s not going to be smooth sailing,” Atkinson said. “And it hit and they took the lead, but we bounced back.
“And I sat there at halftime and pointed at Zach and said, ‘You’re going to be challenged here in this half,’ and boy did he answer with that interception and big return.”
The dominant defensive effort followed an opening three quarters, and first half in particular, that featured plenty of fireworks.
After the Marcus defense forced a three-and-out on Lewisville's first possession, the Marauders marched to the end zone taking a 7-0 lead on a 4-yard scoring pass from Nussmeier to Connor Vaughn; the first of nine consecutive touchdown drives to close the half.
The Marauders then fell on the ensuing squib kick in Lewisville territory, taking advantage and doubling their lead on a 1-yard scoring plunge by Tyler Gainey.
Marcus and Lewisville would trade touchdowns for the rest of the half with the Marauders settling for a 35-28 margin at the break.
“That was a huge start,” Atkinson said. “CJ Cartwright special teams coordinator and our Kamikaze kickoff coverage. They’re out of this world. And, of course John Wegendt kicking for us.”
In the first two quarters alone, the two teams combined for 602 yards of offense.
Boise State commit and Lewisville quarterback Taylen Green threw for 236 yards and three touchdowns, while Isiah Stevens hauled in eight receptions for 141 yards and two scores, including a one-handed grab in the back corner of the end zone with 20 seconds remaining in the half.
Stevens would finish with a game-high 11 receptions for 170 yards, while running back Damien Martinez carried 19 times for 68 yards and score.
Lewisville rode the momentum into the third quarter, forcing a punt and scoring on its first possession when Green ran to the house from 31 yards out.
A fumble on the ensuing kickoff gifted Lewisville strong starting field position and suddenly the Farmers had their first, and only, lead of the day at 38-35 following a 30-yard Freddy Joya field goal.
But it was all Marcus from there as the Marauders regained the lead on a 1-yard touchdown run by Caden Novarro and increased the margin back to double digits on an 11-yard scoring run by Walker Wells.
For the game, Wells finished with 12 rushes for 89 yards, while Dallas Dudley paced the Marcus receivers with 121 yards on four receptions.
“The way it started, for us to bow our necks and fight back and take the lead there in the third quarter says a lot about a young team like this,” said Michael Odle, Lewisville head coach. “In the third quarter, we got after them a little bit and we were hoping we could stop their run game with a lighter box. We did some, but not enough, and they hurt us with some crossing routes and (Nussmeier) made a lot of plays.”
Lewisville, still in the hunt for a playoff berth, closes the regular season at 7 p.m. Friday at Hebron.
“It won’t be easy bouncing back after losing to those guys,” Odle said. “We don’t like them. It’s a rival and you’re not supposed to like them and we don’t. They have a lot of good kids and coaches over there, but we don’t like silver and red over here and we sure don’t like losing to them. But it’s a game and we need to compete, play with emotion and not be emotional and now that’s it over tip our hats, let it sting and get ready for next week.”
Marcus hopes to cap a perfect regular season and keep rolling at the same time at home against Plano East.
“Defensively, we caused two turnovers tonight,” Atkinson said. “And offensively, we executed the running game. Walker and Caden did an outstanding job and our offensive line is maturing beyond what I ever expected.”