For the fourth time in a decade, the Arlington Martin Warriors have won a district championship with a perfect mark in league play.
Thursday’s 44-19 victory against crosstown rival Arlington Bowie at the University of Texas-Arlington’s Maverick Stadium sends the Warriors (9-1) into the postseason with an unblemished 7-0 record in District 4-6A.
Martin was also perfect in winning district in 2010, 2014, and 2015, also capturing championships — or a share of one — with single losses in 2011 and 2013.
This is also the 14th consecutive season in which the Warriors have advanced to the playoffs, having advanced to at least the third round in seven of the past 11 years.
Martin had already clinched the top seed from the district in the upcoming Class 6A Division I playoffs. The Warriors will face the No. 2 Division I seed from District 3-6A in bi-district.
With the loss, combined with Arlington Lamar’s 34-33 win over Arlington, Bowie (7-3, 5-2) finished third in the district standings and is the No. 1 Division II. The Volunteers will face the No. 2 seed Division II qualifier from District 3-6A in bi-district. This is the Volunteers’ 13th playoff appearance in 14 seasons, with the lone exception being a year ago.
After falling behind 7-0 on a 7-yard run by Bowie’s Marsaillus Sims early in the second quarter, the Warriors took control with three consecutive touchdowns, starting with a 13-yard run by Lenard Lemons to tie the score at 7. That was followed by a 22-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Zach Mundell to Cal Robinson and a 4-yard run by Mundell for a 21-7 halftime lead.
Lemons’ run came two plays after Martin’s K.J. Polk Jr. returned a kickoff 65 yards to the Bowie 16. Mundell’s TD pass and run each came after Martin interceptions, by Christian Traylor and Morice Blackwell, respectively. Mundell also ran a fake punt 19 yards for a first down to keep a drive alive on the way to the second Martin score.
Polk returned the game’s opening kickoff 85 yards to the Bowie 1. However, two plays later, the Volunteers recovered a fumble.
Twice in the second half, Bowie cut the lead to single digits on a pair of touchdown runs by quarterback Drevvon Ponder. The first score was on a 1-yard run following a 50-yard kickoff return by Jalen Curvin to bring the Volunteers to within 21-13 on the opening possession of the third quarter. The second was on a 64-yarder that made the score 28-19 midway through the third.
Curvin also had a 42-yard kickoff return.
Ponder finished as the game’s leading rusher with 126 yards on 13 carries. Mundell accounted for 201 yards for the Warriors, 86 on the ground and 115 passing.
In between Ponder’s scores, Martin had another long kickoff return, this time for 68 yards and a TD by Lemons.
Putting the finishing touches on the Martin win following a 33-yard field goal by the Warriors’ Nick Rodriguez, Chris Craft scored on a 4-yard run, and Ernest Cooper IV returned a fumble 27 yards on a botched punt.
Though probably no consolation for the Volunteers, Bowie became the first team in district to score in double digits against the Martin defense. The Warriors entered the game having surrendered just 25 points in league play.
The Warriors extended their lead over the Volunteers in their series to 19-9, with eight wins in the past 10 meetings, including three straight. Martin improved to 7-5 at Maverick Stadium against Bowie.