Last season the varsity football program at George C. Marshall took an enormous leap forward, finishing with a .500 record that could have been even more impressive if not for a trio of one-point losses.
“[Last year] meant a lot,” Head Coach J.T. Biddison said. “It was the beginning of believing that we can be a competitive team.”
This season, the Statesmen hope they can continue the recent improvement under Biddison, particularly in their district schedule, where they bore a mark of 2-5. The task won’t be an easy one, with a number of talented teams in the Liberty District, including favorite Stone Bridge, who last year went undefeated in the district en route to an appearance in the state final.
Another hurdle the Statesmen must overcome is the departure of a talented crop of seniors that included Jordan Culbreath, Pat McClain, Brad Dixon and Nima Kililian. Culbreath is playing this season at Princeton, while McClain has earned a scholarship at Shepherd College. Dixon, meanwhile, is on scholarship at Norfolk State.
Marshall will lean on returners Frank Howell (ILB), Ryan Goss (TE/Defensive Line), and Chris Hurlburt (OLB, RB) to lead the charge this season.
The Statesmen’s latest campaign got off to a good start this past week as Marshall downed Washington-Lee 14-7 in a Thursday night home game played in advance of Hurricane Ernesto’s Friday deluge. The Marshall defense controlled the game throughout, allowing the Generals a mere 15 rushing yards, while forcing a pair of fumbles. Washington-Lee’s lone score came on an interception returned for a touchdown.
Complimenting the stingy defensive effort were a pair of touchdowns from Hurlburt and Mosab Sabah. Hurlburt finished the game with 68 yards on 18 carries, while fellow back Howell carried 10 times for 45 yards. Quarterback Harold Sweet contributed 42 yards on the ground and another 48 through the air.
Despite the victory, Biddison will keep his team’s collective noses to the grindstone in the coming days, stating that while he was pleased with the talent and heart of his skill position players, there is always room for improvement.
“[We need to work on] everything,” Biddison said. “We have many good teams on the schedule.”
To that end, Biddison is keeping his team focused on the task at hand, and adhering to the notion that the biggest game of the year is whichever falls next on the schedule. Presently, that game would be a road game against Wakefield on Friday night at 7:30 p.m. Other schedule highlights this season come Sept. 15 away against J.E.B. Stuart, Homecoming against McLean on Oct. 13, a home game against Stone Bridge Nov. 3 and the season finale grudge match against rival Madison Nov. 10.