The Marshall High Statesmen spanned the touchdown-scoring spectrum to start their opening-round playoff game and would never relinquish their lead in a dominant 35-14 win against Mt. Vernon High School last Friday night.
Doug Howell reached the end zone first for Marshall, capping a lengthy game-opening drive with a one-yard touchdown run. The next drive chewed virtually no time off of the clock when Marshall quarterback Harold Sweet found Josh Earl for a 44-yard touchdown reception.
Mt. Vernon retaliated with it's first points of the game, a four yard run by Brian Green, however the Majors' momentum was short lived. Marshall's Doug Howell took the ensuing kickoff 80 yards for the Statesmen's third touchdown of the half.
The Majors struck back to start the second-half scoring with a 28-yard touchdown pass from Green to Carlos Wilhoit, however those would be the last points Mt. Vernon mustered. Marshall's Craig Murphy capped the game with a pair of touchdown receptions in the fourth quarter to put the contest out of reach.
Howell turned in a tremendous day on the ground, carrying the ball 28 times for 129 yards, in addition to his special teams success. Sweet completed seven of his eight passes on the day for 100 yards, with three of those throws finding the end zone.
The Statesmen now advance to the playoffs' second round to face a familiar foe — Stone Bridge. The Bulldogs won the Liberty District with a mark of 7-0 (10-1 overall) and pasted Statesmen by the score of 35-0 when the teams met on September 14.
Marshall has played its best football in the season's final weeks however, outscoring opponents 113-34 in the Statesmens' past three games.