Bulldogs defeat Crawford, roll on to semi-finals

The Marlin Bulldogs are headed for the semi-final round of the high school football playoffs. 

They are set to play Hawley on Thursday, Dec. 9, at 7 p.m. in Weatherford.

The Bulldogs defeated the Crawford Pirates 26-6 in the quarterfinal round of the playoffs on Friday night. 

Marlin received the ball to start the game. The opening drive did not go well for Marlin as Desmond Woodson (7) threw an interception. The defense for Marlin did not allow Crawford to turn the turnover into points and forced a punt. The Bulldogs started the scoring in a big way with a 58-yard touchdown run by Trajon Butler (0) for a 6-0 lead. The first quarter ended with the score at 6-0.

Marlin piled on with a 5-yard rushing touchdown by Zha’mauryon Lofton (6) for a 13-0 lead. Crawford marched up the field but the Marlin defense held tough and forced a fourth and 8. The Pirates chose to go for it and failed due to a big sack by Praiyer Jones (77) to force the turnover on downs. The Bulldog offense rewarded the defense with a 13-yard run by Derion Gullette (4), followed by a 20-yard run by Butler. Marlin then scored on a 25-yard touchdown catch by Lofton on a throw by Woodson for a 20-0 lead. The Bulldog defense continued to stay stout as they forced another Crawford punt. The Bulldogs marched up the field with a 27-yard catch by Gullette. On the next play, Marlin scored on a 1-yard quarterback run by Woodson to extend the lead to 26-0 after a blocked extra point. The score at halftime remained at 26-0.

Marlin continued their tough defense in the third quarter and forced a punt for the Pirates. The offense finally slowed down and had to punt the ball back to Crawford. The defense allowed a fourth and 2 by Crawford then gave up a 24-yard pass on a third and 16. Third quarter came to an end with Marlin still holding the 26-0 shutout.

The Pirates avoided the shutout as they scored on a 1-yard touchdown run for a score of 26-6 after Marlin blocked the extra point. The Bulldogs went back on offense and got an 18-yard catch by Gullette due to an incredible move by Woodson to avoid a sack, but later on that drive had an interception thrown by Woodson. Crawford tried to start a drive but was forced to go for a fourth and 20 and failed. With that turnover, Marlin held on to win 26-6 to advance to the semifinals. The defense was incredible as they to just 46 passing yards and one touchdown the whole game.

“We forced them to drive the field,” Marlin Coach Ruben Torres said. “I think that was the big thing is we didn’t let them get any big plays. They converted some big first downs, they had some long drives, but even on offense, when you’re driving the ball that long it still wears you down. We were able to get them to the short side of the field, use the sideline to our advantage, our defense held tough once they crossed the 50. Great job by those guys.” 

Along with the great defense, the offense was also phenomenal as Desmond Woodson threw for 215 yards and a touchdown along with rushing for 90 yards and a touchdown. Ty Harris was also great as he rushed for 117 yards and had 3 tackles on defense. Tajon Butler had another great game, rushing for 120 yards and a touchdown. To top it off, Derion Gullette had another amazing game with 104 receiving yards.

“We weren’t sure what they were going to do,” Torres said. “They started playing both inside and out, and that opened up our run game, they had to respect our speed on the outside, so they lightened their box which they hadn’t shown all year. We took advantage running the ball inside with Ty Harris, and then just getting the ball out on the edge seemed to be real effective where we could use our speed and then when they sucked up, we hit them over the top.” 

Up next for the Bulldogs, they will take on the Hawley Bearkats in the semifinals for a chance to play in the state championship. Coach Torres feels his team has to make a couple adjustments, but has the talent and is ready for the challenge. 

“We got to clean up a lot of things,” Torres said. “We have linemen issues on defense, we missed a couple things, backside blocking in our run game. It’s just like any other game; there’s things will look at on film. It never looks as good as you think, never looks as bad and we’ll get back to work tomorrow morning.” 

Torres also believes his team got a big confidence boost after beating a Crawford team that was ranked top 10 in the state. 

“I think a little bits been made too much about the kids that they were missing, but Crawford’s a well-coached team, a state staple,” Torres said. “They are the class of 2A, so we knew we were going to get a great Crawford team that was balanced, disciplined. But it was huge for us because we’ve been preaching discipline all year, we can’t just rely on our athletic ability.” 

The game is set for 7 p.m. at Kangaroo Stadium in Weatherford, 250 Eureka Street. Marlin will be the visitors.

Marlin wishes the Bulldogs the best of luck as they try to reach their first state championship since 2003.


The Marlin Democrat

251 Live Oak St
Marlin, TX 76661
Phone: (254) 883-2554
Fax:(254) 883-6553