Tuesday, October 18, 2016 - Updated: 1:29 PM
By David Green
CADIZ – Marshall County took out the frustrations built up in a three-game losing streak and handed the Trigg County Wildcats their fifth loss in a row, 58-14 Friday night at Perdue Field.
Mason Green ran for 205 yards and scored three touchdowns and Skyler Smith threw for three more TDs, two to Grant Utley and one to Trevor Fisk, to power the romp.
Thad Buchanan and Brandon Raye also had touchdowns for the Marshals, who bettered their previous high point total of 42 in a win against Murray on Sept. 16.
Daniel Gardner kicked six extra points, and the defense added to the total by tackling a Trigg County ball carrier in the end zone for a safety.
The victory evened the Marshals’ overall record at 4-4 and sends them into this week’s pivotal 5A, District 1 battle at Apollo in Owensboro. The winner of that game will claim fourth place in the five-team district and will earn a playoff berth.
The decisive victory over Trigg County was “a heck of a win,” Marshals Coach Evan Merrick said. “I feel like it sets us up well for what we’ve got [this] week against Apollo,” he said.
It’s the same situation the Marshals faced at home last year, when Apollo visited Traylor Stadium and won the third of its three victories in a 3-8 season that was capped by a playoff loss at Bowling Green.
This year, the Eagles come in with an identical 2-6 overall record. But the Marshals, who were 2-6 last year, bring a .500 record into this year’s game, and should figure to be the favorite over Apollo.
“You’re in a five-team district and both of us are competing for that last playoff spot, so that makes it a playoff atmosphere in the regular season,” Merrick said.
Senior quarterback Brandon Alexander is the key to the Apollo offense, with a team-leading 542 yards rushing and 1,409 yards passing, with 12 touchdowns through the air and seven more on the ground. Peyton Peters has eight TD catches.
Brent Willis, a senior running back, has gained 382 yards and his scored five TDs.
The Marshals will counter with junior running back Green, who now has 1,068 yards rushing and eight touchdowns, and junior quarterback Smith, who has thrown for 1,089 yards and has 10 TD completions.
In addition to the playoff implications, a victory would give the Marshals a win total equal to that of the past three seasons combined and guarantee a .500 regular-season record for the first time since the 2012 team went 5-5 before a playoff loss.
At Trigg County Friday, the home team fumbled the opening kickoff and the Marshals wasted no time in capitalizing, on a seven-yard run by Green.
The Wildcats fumbled the kickoff again, recovering the loose ball but punting it away after three plays. The Marshals responded by driving 81 yards to their second TD, the tally coming when Buchanan covered a loose ball in the end zone.
The score moved to 16-0 in the first quarter when the Marshals pinned the Wildcats deep in their own territory, then swarmed over JaKobe Bridges behind the goal line for a safety.
Grant Johnson picked off the first of two interceptions early in the second quarter. The Marshals drove to a TD, with Raye going the last three yards. Green then ran for a 2-point conversion and the Marshals led 24-0.
Trigg got on the board when Bridges dashed 83 yards with the ensuing kickoff, making it 24-7.
The Marshals answered that with a 32-yard toss from Smith to Utley, then got another interception by Johnson. This one set the Marshals up with a first-and-goal at the 2, and Green, after an offsides penalty moved Trigg back to its 1-yard line, plunged in for his second TD and a 37-7 lead.
Just before the half ended, Smith hit Utley for a second TD, this one from 5 yards out, and the Marshals led 44-7 at intermission.
A running clock shortened the second half, with Green breaking loose for a 55-yard TD run that made it 51-7.
Tyreke Wilson hit KiRome Bingham for a 35-yard scoring strike in the fourth period, and then Smith connected with Fisk for a scoring play that covered 57 yards.
NEXT WEEK: The Marshals close out regular-season play at home against Hopkinsville. The Class 4A Tigers are 7-1 after a 56-defeat of district opponent Calloway County last week. They play at Hopkins County Central Friday.