After a horrid start to the season, Arlington Martin might just have enough left in the tank for a playoff berth.
Despite a rebuilding season, the Warriors got a leg up in the race for the final playoff spot out of District 4-6A with a 38-13 victory over Arlington Sam Houston Thursday at Wilemon Field.
“That’s Texas high school football,” said Martin Coach Bob Wager. “We’re reloading and just coaching the kids up as hard as we can.”
Martin (2-4 overall, 2-1 District 4-6A) scored the first 17 points of the game on a 28-yard Nick Rodriguez field goal and short touchdown runs by Montrell Smith and Alonzo Banks.
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Smith led all rushers with 188 yards on 11 carries and scored on runs of 2 and 47 yards.
But Sam Houston (1-5, 1-2) wouldn’t go away.
Texans running back Exzavier Thomas ran it in from five yards out with 1:43 left before halftime. The junior added a seven-yard scoring run with 6:03 left in the third quarter to cut Martin’s lead to 17-13. The latter drive covered 72 yards in 13 plays, all on the ground.
The Warriors took command, scoring on their final three possessions punctuated by a 36-yard interception return for a score by sophomore linebacker Morice Blackwell that gave Martin a 38-13 lead with 7:44 left in the game.
Game was over when: Following a 49-yard kickoff return by Sam Houston’s Bryce Oliver, the Texans drove to the Martin 14 yard line only to have a 31-yard field goal blocked by the interior of the Warriors line. Martin then went on a 14-play, 80-yard drive, capped by a Julian Johnson one-yard TD run to give the Warriors a 31-13 lead with 8:17 left in the fourth quarter.
Play of the game: Montrell Smith broke through the line for a 73-yard gain midway through the second quarter to give Martin a first down at the Sam Houston 18. Alonzo Banks scored on a five-yard run two plays later to give the Warriors a 17-0 lead with 5:15 left in the second quarter.
Offensive player of the game: Martin running back Montrell Smith had a great game. In addition to the 188 rushing yards and two scores, Smith caught two passes for 42 yards.
Defensive player of the game: Morice Blackwell’s 36-yard interception return for a touchdown was the cherry on a solid defensive effort by Martin. The Warriors forced Sam Houston to punt on its first three series and Chris Craft recovered a Texan fumble on the fourth possession.
Unsung hero of the game: Martin quarterback Zach Mundell didn’t account for any scores but had a solid night. Mundell rushed 10 times for 44 yards and completed 10-of-21 passes for 152 yards.
What’s next? Martin will host Arlington at Maverick Stadium at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 19. Sam Houston will be on the road at North Crowley at 7 p.m. on Oct. 19 as both teams continue 4-6A play.