Marcus head coach Kevin Atkinson couldn’t have picked a better time to notch his 100th career coaching victory.
Not only did he record the milestone victory Friday, but the 49-13 rout of Irving MacArthur secured at least a share of the District 6-6A title for the Marauders — Marcus’ first district title since winning the Class 5A state championship in 1997.
“It was a real nice way to get the 100th win,” Atkinson said. “We won in 1995 and 1997, so it’s been a pretty good drought. I guess we have to at least make it to the state championship game.
“I thought we played really well tonight, though. The idea was to play a faceless opponent, just like we try to do every week, and we did that and executed our game plan.”
Marcus racked up nearly 650 yards of offense on the night despite playing numerous starters for just more than two quarters as Marcus held a 35-7 lead at halftime.
J. Michael Sturdivant opened the scoring with a 64-yard touchdown reception via Garrett Nussmeier and Marcus never looked back.
Jaden Robinson followed with a pair of 17-yard touchdowns, one rushing and one receiving, for a 21-0 lead, before Ethan Barr made the play of the night when he pressured and intercepted a scrambling Dylan Frettoloso and returned it 86 yards to the house for a 28-0 margin.
“The defense has been playing great all year,” Atkinson said. “I jokingly call them ‘The Misfits,’ but they apply pressure and do well against the running game. I can’t say enough about that play by Ethan and how he stole the ball and got the six points.”
On the night, Marcus surrendered 355 total yards, much of it with the game already out of reach.
Quarterback Garrett Nussmeier threw for 384 yards and three touchdowns before giving way to Brayden Canole — who promptly connected with Connor Vaughn for a 40-yard touchdown pass to achieve the final margin.
Tyler Gainey spearheaded the Marcus rushing attack with 77 yards, while Ty’son Edwards had 53 yards on the ground with a touchdown alongside 46 receiving yards.
“That was the message at halftime … to play for each other,” Atkinson said. “It was senior night and we wanted to be able to get everyone in and we accomplished that. I was really happy.”
Marcus now moves on to face rival Lewisville Friday on the road. The two teams could have been battling it out for the 6-6A crown had the Farmers defeated Hebron on Friday.
Instead, Marcus already knows it has at least a share of the district title, and that it will be facing Keller Central in the bi-district round of the 6A Division II playoffs.
“(Lewisville will) still be a big game, but obviously the bigger game will be in two weeks,” Atkinson said. “Our goal was not to just get to the playoffs, but to win in the playoffs. That’s our goal. This team is different. I’ve said that time and time again. I’m really excited about the way they are playing right now.”