FLOWER MOUND - Marcus' football team won for the third consecutive time in District 6-6A Friday, taking down Plano West at home, 37-14.
The Marauders received four touchdown passes on just eight completions from quarterback Jaxxon Warren while outgaining the Wolves on the night, 514-221.
Marcus jumped on West from the start, returning the opening kickoff into Wolves' territory and scoring on its third play from scrimmage when Warren connected with Ashton Cozart for a 38-yard touchdown pass.
The Marauders doubled their lead on their ensuing drive with a 19-yard touchdown pass from Warren to Connor Vaughn before achieving a 20-0 margin on a 1-yard scoring plunge by Walker Wells.
Later in the fourth quarter, after West had trimmed the lead to one score, Cozart got behind the defense for a 75-yard scoring strike before Dallas Dudley put the finishing touches in the victory with a 16-yard touchdown reception.
Dudley finished the night with five receptions for 132 yards, while Cozart had three catches for 118 yards. Wells, meanwhile, spearheaded the Marcus ground game with 15 rushes for 75 yards and Warren’s final tally saw him complete 8-of-14 for 250 yards.
“That one catch that Dudley made was unbelievable,” said Kevin Atkinson, Marcus head coach. “He made two great catches there and Cozart just has the speed and of course Connor has all the ability, so we have them coming from everywhere.”
Marcus’ defense, meanwhile, limited Vance Feuerbacher to just 73 yards passing on the night, but that didn’t stop the Wolves from making the contest interesting during the second and third quarters.
Late in the first half, West’s ground game picked up and the Wolves went to the half trailing, 20-7, following a 4-yard touchdown run by Jaylon Reed with 18 seconds left in the half.
The Marauders actually returned the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown but the score was negated by a holding penalty.
The Marcus lead was trimmed further early in the third on a 14-yard touchdown pass to Charlie Johnson.
Johnson finished with four catches for 33 yards and a touchdown with Suwi Musanda leading the rushing attack with 14 carries for 56 yards.
“There were moments when we were in rhythm,” said Tyler Soukup, West head coach. “But we had some penalties that ended our drives and we are not built for that. We have to stay ahead of the chains.”
West then forced turnover on downs with 4 minutes left in third quarter but the Wolves were unable to take the lead, instead coughing the ball up inside its own territory.
“I was proud of the way we fought back,” Soukup said. “They scored two quick touchdowns and we were disappointed in that, but I like the way we battled back. We got that late touchdown in the second quarter and knew we had the ball to start the second half and were encouraged by that. But we got into some self-inflicted mistakes, which we have a tendency to do, and against a good football team that’s the end result.”
The Marauders promptly took advantage and regained control, moving in front, 23-14, courtesy of a 26-yard field goal by Michael Petro before putting the game away with touchdown passes to Dudley and Cozart.
Marcus looks for a fourth consecutive win in district at 7 p.m. Friday at Hebron.
“We’re just focusing on being 1-0 and on the next game and this week that means Hebron,” Atkinson said.
West seeks its first win in district at the same time at home against Flower Mound.
“We have to continue to work on ourselves,” Soukup said. “If we would have gotten out of our own way and stayed penalty-free, we had a chance to win that football game and I think anyone here tonight would have told you that.”
Jaguars hold off East rally
Despite letting a 21-point lead slip away on Friday, Flower Mound righted the ship just in time against Plano East. The Jaguars scored 14 straight points in the fourth quarter to help fend off a game effort by the Panthers for a 42-35 victory from Neal Wilson Stadium.
Flower Mound led by as much as 28-7 early on, forcing a pair of turnovers and riding a combined four touchdowns involving quarterback NIck Evers to a commanding lead.
But East chipped away, finding the end zone just before the end of the first half on a 1-yard run by Drew DeVillier to cut its deficit to 28-14 and then drawing even on a pair of third-quarter touchdown runs by Ismail Mahdi.
The Jaguars at last mustered a counter, retaking the lead on a 4-yard touchdown run by Evers with 9:06 left in the fourth quarter and then upping the count to 42-28 with 6:14 to play after Peyton Porter scored on a 7-yard run.
DeVillier found Trevor Smith for a 30-yard score one series later to cut the deficit to seven, and East was even afforded a late shot at a game-tying drive but couldn’t cash in.
Evers totaled 381 yards and five touchdowns in the win, while Walker Mulkey paced the receiving corps with 187 yards and two touchdowns. Mahdi was brilliant for East in defeat, rushing for 105 yards and logging 128 receiving yards to go along with three total touchdowns.