LEWISVILLE — With Marcus and Lewisville already locked into their respective playoff spots, the 34th installment of the Battle of the Axe series technically didn’t mean anything.
But it didn’t show on the field.
The Marauders and Farmers staged an overtime, shootout classic in their respective District 6-6A finales with the win the going the way of Marcus, 48-42, after Garrett Nussmeier connected with Dallas Dudley for a 23-yard touchdown for the lone score in the first overtime period.
“This feels really good,” said Kevin Atkinson, Marcus head coach. “To be able to do that was great, but we have other things to worry about.”
The 90 combined points matches a high in the history of the storied series, and the win caps a perfect run through District 6-6A competition for the Marauders, who had already clinched at least a share of their first district crown since 1997.
“I was a little surprised at the score,” said Michael Odle, Lewisville head coach. “I thought we would compete a little better on defense, but I know they like tempo, and we do, too, so there was the potential for a high-scoring game.
“The kids played hard. We were there at the end, we just couldn’t find a way to get one in the (win) column.”
Marcus will now host Keller Central at 7 p.m. Friday in the bi-district round of the Class 6A Division II playoffs, while Lewisville will enter the postseason as the No. 2 seed from 6-6A and earns a date on the road at 7 p.m. Friday against 5-6A champion Southlake Carroll in the 6A Division I bracket.
As noted, Friday’s contest had plenty of fireworks, including Marcus racking up 629 yards of offense.
Nussmeier completed 26-of-37 passes on the night for 457 yards and five touchdowns, while Ty’son Edwards rushed for 156 yards and a score on 33 carries.
“I can’t say enough about the offensive line and the unit as a whole,” Atkinson said. “Everyone is playing for one another and pulls for one another. It’s a unique thing, but we’ve been saying all year that this team is different.”
In addition to the game-winning strike, Nussmeier also opened the scoring with a 39-yard touchdown pass to Dudley and threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to Collin Sutherland and an 88-yard bomb to Jaden Robinson in the final two minutes of the first half to go to the break with a 27-23 advantage.
For Lewisville, Taylen Green completed 22-of-40 passes for 258 yards and three touchdowns while also chipping in 48 yards and three scores on the ground.
Late in the fourth quarter, Marcus had a chance to take command, but instead fumbled at the Lewisville 1-yard line to keep the contest at a 37-36 margin in favor of the Marauders.
Marcus then registered a safety to increase its lead to 39-36, but the Farmers countered with a 21-yard touchdown pass from Green to Tony Thomas to take their first lead of the night at 42-39 with 4:59 remaining.
But Nussmeier and Marcus had the answer, driving down the field before settling for a 31-yard field goal from John Wegendt to send the game to overtime.
In the extra frame, Marcus forced Lewisville into a turnover on downs on the opening possession before scoring the game-winner on third down.
“It was tough to get a stop early,” Odle said. “(Nussmeier) is a pretty good player. He’s tough to corral. And (Edwards) runs hard and strong. We knew our hands were full. I give our kids credit. They made plays and kept coming after them.”
The Farmers will need another resilient effort Friday against powerhouse Carroll.
“This is a big game and a beautiful game for the community and the kids,” Odle said. “We wanted it, but now we have to regroup, and we have a task at hand that we want to go see. We’ve changed the culture and the landscape of this program, and these are the types of games we are going to play in against a district champ and a top-10 team.”
Marcus, meanwhile, is seeking its first postseason win since 2015 Friday against the Chargers.
“We have to start 1-0,” Atkinson said. “(Central has) never won a playoff game, and we haven’t won one in a while. It’s going to be a hard-hitting and fast-action game.”