FLOWER MOUND — The want-to was there for the Waxahachie Indians on Friday night, and the fight was there too. But this time, the offense was just too inconsistent to deliver a road victory.
The Indians pulled to within 10 points in the fourth quarter and got the ball back with a chance to make it a one-possession game. But a shot at a second-straight rally fizzled, and Flower Mound Marcus emerged on top, 55-38, at Marauder Stadium.
“At times we execute and at times we don’t,” Indians head coach Todd Alexander said. “That’s the problem we’re having right now. We look like a really good football team in spurts, and we play very poorly in spurts. We’ve got to figure that out as a coaching staff, (whether) it’s our practice habits or our mental preparation and focus, or whatever it is.”
Senior Campbell Sullivan had more big passing numbers for the Indians (1-2), racking up 373 yards and four touchdowns. But communication was a problem all night and several passes were also dropped, and Sullivan suffered his first interception as he was forced to scramble in the backfield all night.
“We ran some wrong routes in some of our schemes, and making some poor reads at times,” Alexander said. “We didn’t protect up front. There was a lot of problems offensively that we’ve got to work out and fix.”
There were some positive highlights for the Indians. Prolific receiver Brandon Hawkins Jr., fresh off a 13-catch, 3-touchdown performance in last week’s victory against Mesquite Poteet, had 11 more snares for 182 yards and two scores and added a 58-yard punt return for a TD. Taevion Wofford, seeing his first action of 2019, added seven catches for 84 yards.
Preston Hodge bagged his third interception in two games and also made another big special-teams play by recovering an onside kick that kept the Indians alive in the fourth quarter. D’Tyler Mason also intercepted a pass to end the first half.
But the Marauders (2-1) were simply too physical, and it showed in the fourth quarter, when Marcus unleashed running back Ty’son Edwards. They sealed the outcome with 1:30 remaining on Edwards’ 2-yard run, capping a 10-play, 65-yard drive that chewed up more than five minutes with Edwards toting the rock on nine of those plays.
Edwards finished with 190 rushing yards and three touchdowns, and added 136 receiving yards, including a 92-yard scoring play on a wide-open wheel route in the second quarter.
“He’s a good player,” Alexander said. “He’s a load, and when you have a back like that, you have to hit him all night and you’ve got to hit him for four quarters.”
The Indians once again made things interesting late, trailing by 25 points to start the fourth quarter. Waxahachie drove 65 yards for a score as Sullivan and Hawkins connected from the 14 to make it 48-31, and Jaden Basham — who also earlier had a TD reception — converted the 2-pointer. Then Hodge’s recovery of the ensuing onside kick led to Sullivan’s 43-yard deep throw to Hawkins, and all of a sudden it was a 10-point game.
Then with 8:10 left, Hodge stepped in front of a Garrett Nussmeier pass and the Indians were in business. But after three straight incompletions, the Indians were forced to punt, and Marcus salted the game away with its drive.
Nussmeier was 24-of-40 for 426 yards and five TDs for the Marauders, who ran 69 plays from scrimmage and finished with 606 yards of total offense. Two of Nussmeier’s scores went to Christian Espinoza, who had five catches for 130 total.
DJ Hollywood, who was the Indians’ starting quarterback a year ago but is now their starting punter and tight end, threw his first pass of the year on a fake punt that was on-target but dropped. But Hollywood executed a perfect toe-drag in the end zone on a 29-yard Sullivan pass to record a touchdown late in the third quarter, keeping the Indians in a game that was on the verge of turning into a blowout.
The Indians don’t have much time to regroup, as Class 6A No. 12-ranked DeSoto rolls into Lumpkins Stadium next Friday night in the District 7-6A opener for both teams.
“Our kids are fighting hard, and that’s a big positive,” Alexander said. “But we’ve got to execute. We’ve got to be able to be in the right spots when we’re supposed to be there and make sure we have all the stuff fixed — in a very quick manner.”
Flower Mound Marcus 55, Waxahachie 38
Waxahachie 10 6 7 14 — 38
Marcus 14 13 21 7 — 55
M — Christian Espinoza 63 pass from Garrett Nussmeier (Jacob Scott kick), 11:09
M — Ty’son Edwards 4 run (Scott kick), 7:18
W — Crisanto Perez 24 field goal, 3:13
W — Brandon Hawkins Jr. 58 punt return (Perez kick), 2:22
M — Edwards 92 pass from Nussmeier (Scott kick), 7:16
M — Espinoza 25 pass from Nussmeier (kick failed), 1:13
W — Jaden Basham 17 pass from Campbell Sullivan (kick failed), 0:16
M — Collin Sutherland 7 pass from Nussmeier (Scott kick), 9:02
M — Jaden Robinson 20 pass rom Nussmeier (Scott kick), 4:33
W — DJ Hollywood 29 pass from Sullivan (Perez kick), 2:16
M — Edwards 21 run (Scott kick), 0:43
W — Hawkins 14 pass from Sullivan (Basham pass from Sullivan), 9:58
W — Hawkins 43 pass from Sullivan (Perez kick), 9:43
M — Edwards 2 run (Scott kick), 1:30
Stats Waxahachie Marcus
First downs 22 31
Rushes-yards 19-40 29-180
Passing yards 373 426
C-A-I 24-53-1 24-40-2
Punts-average 7-32.7 5-34.0
Penalties-yards 10-72 7-87
Fumbles-lost 1-1 1-0
Rushing — Waxahachie: Campbell Sullivan 12-26, Derrick Jackson 7-14; Marcus: Ty’son Edwards 27-190, Garrett Nussmeier 2-(-10).
Passing — Waxahachie: Campbell Sullivan 24-52-1 373, DJ Hollywood 0-1-0 0; Marcus: Garrett Nussmeier 24-40-2 426.
Receiving — Waxahachie: Brandon Hawkins Jr. 11-182, Taevion Wofford 7-84, Jaden Basham 5-78, DJ Hollywood 1-29; Marcus: Ty’son Edwards 5-136, Christian Espinoza 5-130, Dallas Dudley 3-46, Jaden Robinson 3-41, J. Michael Sturdivant 5-39, Collin Sutherland 2-19, Tyler Schott 1-15.