Manvel survives late comeback effort by Marshall

MANVEL — So many coaches prepare their players for offense, defense, and special teams while preaching about eliminating mistakes during the game and avoiding penalties that might erase a game-changing play.

While all of this is important and are the basic elements of developing a successful and winning season, one has to wonder why one of the simple elements are constantly ignored that could change the outcome of a close game.

That basic element is called time management as it relates to the game play clock and that was one aspect of the game between No. 4 state-ranked Manvel and No. 2 state-ranked Fort Bend Marshall that seemingly was ignored and resulted in Marshall having the opportunity to win the game on a last-play miracle.

Fortunately for the Mavericks, the last gasp pass fell short leaving Manvel with a breath-taking 38-34 district win and most likely the District 11-5A-II championship. Manvel should have no problem sweeping through the rest of their regular season schedule to finish 10-0 before the start of the post-season.

Had Marshall been able to be successful in a comeback effort to get the win over the Mavs -- the final analysis would revert back to the lack of time management and a turnover that allowed the Buffaloes back into the game.

With 9:27 left in the fourth quarter, Manvel had built a 38-20 lead and it seemed like they had the game well under control.

But a team like Marshall, who lost in the Class 5A Div. II state finals last season, is not going to give up and they certainly took advantage of the opportunities they received to possibly pull out a last second win.

However, Manvel certainly deserves credit for their hard work in getting what many consider an upset win.

“I was extremely concerned coming into the game that we weren’t going to be able to run the ball,” Manvel coach Kevin Hall said. “We replaced 10 guys on offense this year. I saw both of our running backs, Donavan Eaglin and Jordon Vaughn, really become warriors in this game. It’s because our offensive line did such a great job.”

Marshall easily scored on their opening drive of the game as they went 53-yards in seven-plays capped off by a 34-yard scoring pass from quarterback Malik Hornsby to wide receiver Devon Achane with 8:10 left in the first quarter for a 7-0 lead.

But Manvel quickly answered on their second possession with a 75-yard, nine-play drive when quarterback Tucker Yarbrough hit Jalen Walthall on a 20-yard scoring strike with 6:30 left to tie up the game 7-7.

Manvel quickly got the ball back when Marshall let a pooch kick hit the ground and allowed the Mavericks to recover the ensuing kickoff at the Buffaloes 21.

But Marshall recovered a Manvel fumble on the second play to get the ball back at their own 40.

Both defenses took over the rest of the opening quarter forcing each team to traded punts.

With 11:09 left in the second period, Marshall lined up to punt on fourth-and-three from their own 35, but a bad snap sent the ball over the punter's head. The punter retrieved the ball at the Buffs six-yard line, threw a pass out of bounds and Marshall was flagged for grounding which allowed the Mavs to take possession at the Marshall six-yard line.

It took only two plays as Donavan Eaglin scored on a 2-yard dive to give the Mavs a 14-7 lead following a Luis Moreno PAT with 10:41 left in the second quarter.

The two teams traded scores as Marshall scored on an 6-yard run by Hornsby with 5:33 left in the second period to tie up the game at 14-14.

Manvel answered with an 11-yard scoring pass from Yarbrough to Jalen Paxton with 4:29 left in the second to give the Mavs a 21-14 lead.

The Mavs added one more score before intermission when Yarbrough hit Zion Johnkins on a 25-yard scoring strike for a 28-14 halftime advantage.

Marshall came out in the second half to make a quick statement as Achane scored on the second play with a 63-yard scoring jaunt to cut the lead to 28-20 after the PAT missed the mark with 11:08 left in the third. Achane scored seven touchdowns against Manvel last year.

But Manvel answered with 11-play, 83-yard drive capped off by a 31-yard scoring run by Jordan Vaughn to give the Mavs a 35-20 lead with 8:16 showing on the clock in the third period.

The Mavs would add a 35-yard field goal by Moreno with 9:27 left in the fourth period making the score 38-20 before Marshall would make their comeback bid.

With 6:24, the Buffs would score on a 17-yard touchdown pass from Hornsby to Achane to cut the lead to 38-28 after Achane scored the 2-point conversion.

Then Manvel would give Marshall gift as Yarbrough fumbled at his own 22 with 6:10 left in the game. Achane would score on a 19-yard run with 5:18 left in the game making the score 38-34 following the missed PAT and now the Buffs were back in the game.

Manvel was forced to punt on their next possession and Marshall took over on their own 13 with 3:18 left in the contest and an opportunity to pull out a game that once looked out of reach.

The Buffs drove down to the Manvel 38 in 12-plays and just seconds left in the game. The Hail Mary pass fell harmless to the ground as time ran out and the Mavs survived to win the district contest.

It was Manvel’s third victory in four years against Marshall as district opponents. The winner has won the district each time. Manvel improves to 4-0 and Marshall drops to 3-1.

“It’s an honor to play them,” Hall said. “It’s always a war, but we came out on the winning side this time. I’m very proud of our kids.’”

Yarbrough was 11-of-28 passing for 188 yards and three TDs.

Vaughn had 13 carries for 81 yards and one score while Eaglin had 17 totes for 49 yards and one TD.

Paxton led all receivers with three catches for 71 yards and one TD. Johnkins had three crabs for 48 yards and one TD while Walthall had three receptions for 47 yards and one touchdown.

Manvel will host Northside at Freedom Field on Friday, September 27 at 7:00 p.m. in another district contest.