District champs not dampened

Tigers defeat Mavericks 27-7


Photo by Molly Crouch

Running back J’Kardi Witcher scores a touchdown against Marshall the 27-7 victory over the Mavericks. Witchers scored four touchdowns in the game, helping to clinch a share of the district championship with Marshall.


With a sparse crowd clad in ponchos, the Tigers defeated 7-0 Marshall Mavericks by a score of 27-7. After falling to the Longview Lobos last week, the Tigers were ready to seek revenge, sharing the co-district championship title with Longview and Marshall.

The Mavericks opened up play at the 17 yard line before backup quarterback Cameron Haller made a 26-yard quarterback keeper. Marshall continued their drive before being stopped by the Tiger defense at the Tigers’ 36 yard line.

“Going in we had bad weather, but we were mentally strong tonight,” head coach Barry Norton said. “It was a physical ball game, and we knew it was going to be.”

The Tigers executed their first drive by moving the ball to the Mavericks’ 45 yard line. Running back Jakardi Witcher put the Tigers on the board first by making a 45-yard touchdown run, making the score 7-0 with 5:48 left in the first quarter.

Marshall was forced to punt allowing the Tigers to take over at the 44 yard line. Quarterback Cade Pearson setup the next drive with a 37-yard pass to wide receiver Tevailance Hunt. Witcher finished out the drive by making a one-yard run to bring the Tigers’ lead to 14 points at the end of the first quarter.

After making a third defensive stop, the Tigers took over on their own 35 yard line. Pearson kept the drive alive with a quarterback sneak at the Mavericks’ 32 yard line.

The Mavericks could not stop Witcher as he scored his third touchdown of the night with a three yard run with 6:27 remaining in the half. The extra point attempt by Ethan Montez was no good bringing the score to 20-0.

“The weather affected a crazy amount. We couldn’t walk. It was hard to run,” senior Matt Davis said. “We just used it to our advantage and didn’t let it get to us. We beat them with it.”

Marshall made their first defensive stop at the Tigers’ own 27 yard line with 3:16 remaining in the half. The Mavericks took over at their own 44 yard line. Haller completed a 16-yard pass to wide receiver Jaquavian Dabbs to the Tigers’ 40 yard line.

The Tigers’ defense made a key play after defensive back Jacorien Walker recovered a backward pass made by Marshall’s quarterback. Marshall took over after a punt made by Pearson put the Mavericks at their own five yard line. The half ended with the Tigers up 20-0.

“After the first half, I was just thinking about milking the clock and leaving with a victory because [Marshall] is a good football team,” Witcher said. “We weren’t going to give them any space to come back.”

The Tigers received the second half kickoff, but Pearson threw an interception to Mavericks’ defensive end Miccah Smith at the 35 yard line who ran to the 10 before being tackled. The Mavericks got on the scoreboard with Chavis Mills’ five-yard run. With 9:15 left in the third quarter, the score was 20-7.

The Tigers responded with Witcher taking the kickoff from the 15 yard line to the Mavericks’ 37 after a horsecollar penalty. However, the Tigers were forced to punt with 7:08 remaining in the third.

The Mavericks marched the ball down the field to the Tigers’ 41 yard line before the Tigers took over on downs. The Tigers failed to gain a first down and had to punt the ball away. The third quarter ended with the Mavericks having to punt with a score of 20-7.

“We came out a bit slow for the second half, but we are going to be district champs,” senior Jacoryon Larry said. “[The rain] gave us a drive and a motivation to play better.”

The Tigers took the ball from their own 41 yard line to the Mavericks’ four before Witcher scored his fourth touchdown of the night. The score was 27-7 with 8:02 left in the game. Marshall’s drive was stopped short at the 9 yard line because of defensive back Jerry Wrightner’s interception. The Tigers ran the clock out to finish the game with a score of 27-7.

“It just feels amazing to be co-district champions,” Witcher said. “This is what we have been working for since the beginning of the summer.”