By Travis M. Smith | KBEC Sports
The Waxahachie Indians did not pack quite enough second-half magic in a non-district road loss Friday against Flower Mound Marcus.
The Mauraders led by as many as four scores before the Indians pulled to within 10 late in the fourth quarter of the eventual 55-38 Marcus victory.
BY THE NUMBERS
Marcus compiled 606 total yards during the victory, far surpassing the 414 yards gained by the Indians.
Maurader quarterback Garrett Nussmeier completed 23-of-his-38 passes for 407 yards and five touchdowns. He also tossed a pair of interceptions.
Christian Espinoza finished the game with a team-best 130 receiving yards and two touchdowns for the Mauraders, while Ty’son Edwards pulled in four passes for 127 and his second-quarter score. He also served as the workhorse in the Marcus backfield, carrying the football 28 times for 199 yards and three touchdowns.
As for Waxahachie, the Tribe played from behind for most of the game and finished with just 48 yards on the ground. Campbell Sullivan and the Indians did, however, light up the stat book through the air.
Sullivan completed 24-of-his-55 passes for 368 yards with four touchdowns and one interception. All three of his main targets set new career-highs for receiving yards, too.
BJ Hawkins led all receivers with 11 catches for 176 yards and two touchdowns, while Taevion Wofford caught seven passes for 82 yards and Jaden Basham had five grabs for 78 yards and one score. Converted tight end DJ Hollywood had one catch for a 29-yard touchdown.
Both teams turned the football over twice on the evening.
The Marcus offense began the game with a head of steam, as Nussmeier connected with Espinoza for a 63-yard touchdown pass less than one minute into the contest. Marcus running back Ty’son Edwards carried the football 4 yards to paydirt about four minutes later to put the Marauders up 14-0.
Waxahachie responded on its two ensuing drives when Crisanto Perez capped an 8-play drive with a 24-yard field goal with 3:13 to play in the first quarter.
Four snaps later, BJ Hawkins blew by all 11 Marcus defenders and returned a punt 58 yards to the house. Perez drilled the extra-point kick and cut the Marcus deficit to 14-10.
Any momentum gained from the punt return became null after each team punted on the ensuing four possessions.
The Mauraders then retook the reins of the ballgame when Edwards caught a short Nussmeier pass and sliced through the Indians defense — which sent the house on a blitz — for a 92-yard touchdown. The score put Mauraders on top, 21-10, and they weren’t finished scoring in the first half.
Following a couple of failed drives and an Indian fumble, the Marcus offense needed just one play — a completion from Nussmeier to Espinoza — to cover 25 yards and extend its first-half lead to 27-10 with 1:13 to play.
The Indians did manage to take advantage of their final drive of the half when Sullivan connected with Basham for a 17-yard score with 16 ticks remaining. The extra-point kick missed and sent the teams into the locker room with Marcus on top, 27-16.
AT THE HALF
The Waxahachie offense accounted for just 178 total yards of offense in the first half, while Marcus amassed a whopping 304 with 262 of those yards coming through the air.
Nussmeier finished the half 11-of-23 for 262 yards and three touchdowns to one interception. Both Edwards (2-107) and Espinoza (4-104) had already crossed the 100-yard plateau at the break.
Sullivan led the Indians offense with 156 yards and one touchdown on 13-of-26 passing. Hawkins (5-67) and newly-promoted Taevion Wofford (5-65) were Sullivan’s top targets.
The second half began with promise when Sullivan connected with Basham for 36 yards and a first down.
It then turned sour when Sullivan completed a pass to Marcus’ Sullivan at the Mauraders 1-yard line. He returned the interception to the Marauders 23-yard line to put the Marcus offense in business.
Following a couple of positive plays for the Mauraders, the Indians were flagged for a pair of personal fouls — on the same play — to move the Marcus offense inside the 10-yard line.
Nussmeier then found his tight end, Collin Sutherland, wide open in the back of the end zone on the ensuing snap. The extra-point kick was true and put Marcus up 34-16 with 9:02 to play in the second half.
Marcus added a second third-quarter touchdown — this time from Nussmeier to Jaden Robinson from 20 yards out — to extend its lead to 41-16.
And though it appeared the rout was on, Waxahachie had plans to at least make things interesting late.
Sullivan first found a wide-open Hollywood for a 29-yard touchdown pass with 2:16 to play in the third quarter; though the Marauders countered when Edwards scampered home for a 21-yard score with 43 seconds to play in the third quarter.
At that time, Marcus held a 48-23 lead.
But if we’ve learned anything about the Indians in year two under head coach Todd Alexander, it’s that they are going to play through the final whistle.
Sullivan first capped a 9-play, 52-yard drive with a 9-yard touchdown pass to Hawkins with 9:58 to play. He then found Jaden Basham to convert the two-point try and pull the Tribe closer, 48-31.
Waxahachie recovered the ensuing onside kick attempt, and it was quite obvious that the attempt caught the Mauraders by surprise. The recovery set the Indians up with first-and-10 at the 43-yard line of Marcus.
Sullivan rewarded the effort by connecting with Hawkins on the very next snap. Crisanto Perez split the uprights and had the Indians within two possessions, 48-38.
Fifteen seconds of game time had passed between the two Sullivan-to-Hawkins touchdowns.
After two runs for large gains by Edwards, Preston Hodge picked off Nussmeier at the goal line to keep the momentum rolling along the Indians sideline. A personal foul after the interception put the football and Indians offense at the 9-yard line of Marcus.
The interception was the third in the past two games for the junior defensive back.
Sullivan and the offense quickly marched toward midfield, only to have a couple dropped passes end the drive in a punt. One of those dropped passes bounced off of the outstretched hands of Basham on a pass thrown about a half stride behind the wideout as he ran a wide-open post route that was well beyond midfield.
The play proved to be the final nail.
Edwards eventually tacked on a 2-yard touchdown to cap the Marauders 55-38 win.
Waxahachie, which fell to 1-2 on the season, will now turn its sights toward District 7-6A action and a home game against (1-1) No. 12 DeSoto on Friday, Sept. 20. Kick-off is slated for 7:30 p.m.
The Eagles face Bishop Lynch at 6 p.m. Saturday.
Travis M. Smith, @Travis5mith