In a contest featuring the top two teams in District 6-6A, Marcus (7-0, 4-0), behind the arm of LSU pledge Garrett Nussmeier, beat host Plano West, 46-24, at Clark Stadium in Plano on Friday night.
After somewhat of a slow start, Nussmeier found his groove late in the first quarter. In the first half alone, he completed 19 passes for 257 yards and a touchdown to lead the Marauders to a 25-10 lead at halftime.
Nussmeier finished the game throwing for 349 yards and three scores with no interceptions.
“We started sluggish but got refocused pretty quick after they scored on us early,” Nussmeier said. “At halftime, we talked about finishing drives because it could have been 45-7 instead of 25-10”.
West (4-3, 2-2) played competitively for the entirety, despite being down most of the night.
“That’s a very good football team”, said Kevin Atkinson, Marcus head coach. “They were ready for us and came out very prepared.”
After exchanging punts on their first two possessions, respectively, the Wolves backed up Marcus at its own 4-yard line early in the first quarter.
Senior defensive end Monsoor Ahmed then sacked Nussmeier twice to force a three-and-out.
A short punt gave West favorable field position at Marcus’ 38-yard line. On first-and-10 with five minutes to go in the opening quarter, sophomore Dermot White scored on a dive up the middle to give the Wolves their only lead, 7-0.
Marcus would answer immediately and tied the score at 7-7 when Nussmeier connected with junior Dallas Dudley from 44 yards out with 3:31 left in the first quarter.
Dudley led all receivers with 141 yards on six receptions and a score.
The Marauders extended the lead to 14-7 when senior Gabe Espinoza plunged in from 5 yards out just before the end of the first quarter.
“Took us a minute to get things going, but we got into our rhythm after a few possessions,” Atkinson said.
Marcus capitalized on a turnover early in the second quarter and increased its lead to 22-7 after junior Walker Wells scored on a 4-yard touchdown run.
The Marauders took a 25-7 lead at intermission when junior John Wegendt hit a 24-yard field goal with 53 seconds left in the second quarter.
After forcing a punt on the Wolves’ opening possession in the second half, Marcus drove the length of the field and went up 32-10 when Nussmeier and junior Connor Vaughn combined for a 20-yard wide receiver screen with 8:24 remaining in the third quarter.
West punted with 5:20 left in the third quarter, and it took just two plays for Marcus to again hit pay dirt, this time on a 59-yard touchdown pass from Nussmeier to Cal pledge and senior J. Michael Sturdivant.
Sturdivant finished with seven receptions and 111 yards and the lone score.
White, just a sophomore for West, led all rushers with 72 yards on 13 carries.
Marcus, whose Friday game again Hebron was cancelled after the Hawks had to shut down their football program due to a COVID-19 outbreak, next plays at Lewisville for The Battle for the Axe on Nov. 27, while West travels to Flower Mound High School to take on the Jaguars at 7 p.m. Friday.
Flower Mound routs Plano East
Averaging just under 18 points per game heading into Friday's district ballgame at Kimbrough Stadium, Flower Mound turned in its best offensive performance of the season and snapped a four-game skid in a 63-21 blowout of Plano East.
The Jaguars totaled 625 yards of offense, including 452 behind the arm of junior quarterback Nick Evers. The first-year starter had his best effort of the season, throwing for four touchdowns and running for another. Sophomore Peyton Porter found the end zone three times as well, rushing for 96 yards in the win.
Juniors Parker Clark and Cade Edlein both went over 100 yards receiving, including an emphatic 13-catch, 234-yard, three-touchdown showing from Clark.
Flower Mound improved to 1-3 in district while East continued to slump at 0-4 and 0-7 for the season.
The Panthers made a change at quarterback for Friday's ballgame, starting sophomore Harris Boyd. The signal-caller threw for 215 yards, two touchdowns and one interception -- finding senior Jaydon Nava and sophomore Rushil Patel for scores. Junior Ismail Mahdi totaled 120 yards of offense in the loss.
-Matt Welch contributed to this story