Bulldogs defeat Coleman in Area championship

The Marlin Bulldogs  are Area champs after defeating Coleman on Nov. 16.

The Marlin football team traveled to Memorial Stadium at Tarleton State University in Stephenville for the area round of the playoffs. They took on the Coleman Bluecats and were victorious, winning 30-28 in a hard-fought game that was a battle until the final minute. 

Marlin kicked off to start the game. Coleman marched down the field but was faced with a fourth and 6. The Bluecats went for the fourth down conversion and succeeded. Marlin forced the Bluecats into another fourth down with a fourth and 13. Marlin stopped them with an interception by Ge’unte Thomas (10). 

The very next play, the Bulldogs scored on a fantastic 85-yard touchdown pass from Roderick Suiters (9) to a wide open I’aire Kee (2) for a 7-0 lead. The Bulldog defense returned to the field and played solid, forcing a three and out. Marlin was unable to move the ball very far on offense and was forced to punt. Coleman moved up the field with a 20-yard run. The Bluecats soon followed that with a 3-yard touchdown scamper to make the score 7-6 after a missed extra point, which would be the score at the end of the first quarter. 

The Marlin offense faced a fourth and 2 in the second quarter. The Bulldogs went for the fourth down conversion and succeeded. They would be stopped in the red zone, but still came away with points on a 20-yard field goal by Eric Ramos (22) to make it a 10-6 lead. The Bulldogs remained stout on defense and forced a three and out. 

Coleman pinned the Marlin offense at the 3-yard line after a brilliant punt, however, the Bulldogs were not phased and scored on an explosive 95-yard touchdown pass from Suiters to Allen Williams (12) for a 17-6 lead. The Marlin offense returned to the field shortly after the ball ricocheted from the intended receiver and fell into the hands of Jerry Willis (20) for an interception. The Bulldogs could not take advantage of the turnover and was forced to punt. Marlins defense responded and forced Coleman to punt soon after. Marlin extended their lead with an exciting 57-touchdown pass from Suiters to William Workman (15) to increase their lead to 23-6. The Bluecats tried for a last-minute score but was stopped with an interception by Keyshaun Massington (13), and the teams went into halftime with Marlin winning 23-6. 

Marlin received the ball to start the second half. The Bulldogs marched down the field and scored on a 3-yard touchdown run by Ja’marien Womack (3) to make it a 30-6 lead. Coleman began to rally back, scoring 22 unanswered points to make it an even game. The last of those points came off a 37-yard touchdown run to make the score 30-28 after a failed two-point conversion.

“We just couldn’t stop the end around (run),” Coach Ruben Torres said. “I thought we were very soft defensively, our outside backers, our safeties played extremely soft. That’s really the only play that was killing us was that end around. They’d go a bunch and run the end around to their sideline and we stopped it a couple times in the first half but didn’t stop it at all in the second half. And that was really disappointing because we knew it was coming and we just got to do a better job of executing and meeting their physicality and I don’t think we did that.” 

Marlin had a chance to seal the game on a fourth and 2 conversion opportunity but came up short. The Bluecats had one more possession and a final chance to steal the game, but Jaden Ray (6) came through with a clutch interception to help Marlin seal the game and win 30-28. 

“We went into a nickel coverage, so we were dropping eight in coverage,” Coach Torres said. “We got great pressure up front from our down three (lineman), so I think that forced the quarterback to throw it early. Jaden Ray was just in the right spot, broke on the ball and got it, and I was really proud of him for getting it and getting down.” 

Mario Hopwood had a fantastic game, rushing for 73 yards. William Workman was also fantastic with 57 receiving yards and a touchdown. Allen Williams was amazing, catching two passes for 107 yards and a touchdown. I’aire Kee was also great with 85 receiving yards and a touchdown. Roderick Suiters was phenomenal, throwing for 284 yards and three touchdowns. 

“I thought we had a great game plan,” Torres said. “I also thought that Roderick Suiters was healthy. He’s been nursing an injury for the last four weeks, so this is his first week where he’s been fully healthy, and I thought he did a good job managing the team. His reads were good, he didn’t put any balls in bad places. I was really proud of him, and we needed his arm. We told him that he was going to need to throw and make big plays to open up lanes for our running backs.” 

Up next for Marlin will be the Tioga Bulldogs in the regional round. The game will be on Friday, Nov. 24, at Crowley ISD Stadium in Fort Worth and kickoff is set for 1 p.m.

The Marlin Democrat

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Marlin, TX 76661
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