Dragons Week 8 Preview: Marcus Marauders
Oct 19, 2017 02:11PM ● Published by Mike
Both squads enter the battle with 2-1 marks in district (tied for third behind Hebron and Trinity) with the winner taking over firm control on third-place positioning as the 5-6A schedule passes the midpoint.
The Dragons come in feeling good after topping Lewisville, 51-0, while Marcus came up short at home against Hebron, 33-10.
“[The win over Lewisville] was probably our most complete game of the season,” said Hal Wasson, Carroll head coach. “It was a good night for us in all three areas and is something we’re looking to build on. It was great to see, especially because there is always some concern coming back from an emotional and tough loss like Trinity was.”
Junior running back Justin Dinka got the best of the Dragons’ defense, rushing for 189 yards on 28 carries with two touchdowns, including an 81-yard burst that gave the Marauders the aforementioned third-quarter advantage.
This season, Dinka is up to the same tricks, ranking among the leaders in the area with 951 rushing yards (7.2 per carry) and 12 touchdowns.
“I don’t think there’s any doubt about it, he’s the best back we will have seen,” Wasson said. “He’s big, strong and fast and has great vision. We’re going to have our hands full.”
Last week, however, Hebron’s defense stymied Dinka and the Marcus ground game to the tune of just 31 yards on 15 carries.
“I’m not really sure why it happened, but they just didn’t give him the ball as much in the second half,” Wasson said. “That will hamper anyone’s rushing output, and we’re certainly expecting that to change this week.”
Under center, Marcus has rotated both Xavier Maxwell and Rasheed Noel.
Wasson noted the Marauders appear to be going to the hot hand, and who takes the snaps has often been determined by the flow of the game.
Thus far, Noel has completed 30-of-51 passes for 348 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions, while Maxwell is 30-of-43 for 208 yards and score with two picks.
Blake Covin has been the top receiver for Marcus (20 receptions, 203 yards) and has also shown to be a weapon in the return game.
Speaking of special teams, the Marauders boast one of the area’s top kickers in John Mayers.
Defensively, Marcus’ strength resides in the front seven, including standout linebacker Marcel Brooks — who recently picked up an offer from Alabama.
“I think that says about all you need to know about what (Brooks) can do,” Wasson said. “They are not short on talent and our offensive line is going to have to have a good night if we’re going to be successful.”
On the year, Marcus is allowing just 19 points per game despite facing a challenging non-district slate and having already seen high-powered Hebron.
Among the marquee wins for the Marauders are victories on the road against Arlington Bowie (21-16) and Mansfield (31-14) as well as a wins over rival Lewisville (18-7) and Hurst L.D. Bell (29-7).
Losses have come to Arlington (37-14) and the Hawks.
“The win over Mansfield was particularly impressive,” Wasson said. “It’s going to be a tough game and it is a very big game for us.”