CYPRESS -- Fort Bend Marshall (14-0) took down Huntsville (12-1) on Thursday night at the Berry Center, 47-43, to advance to the state semifinals next weekend. Junior transfer quarterback Malik Hornsby led an up-tempo offense that hadn’t scored less than 47 points in a game since September 13.
The Hornets had the Buffalos backed up against the wall trailing 43-40 on 4th-and-12. However, Marshall head coach James Williams then dialed up a jet sweep to Devon Achane and Achane then rolled to his right and linked with receiver Dalveon Campbell. Campbell then dragged a couple defenders into the end zone for the game-winning touchdown.
“We have worked on that play all season and I just thought that this would be the perfect time to use it,” Williams said. “We really feel blessed to have won that game, we just kept fighting and found a way to get it done.”
Achane made his presence felt in virtually every way on the Buffalos offense and amassed 112 rushing yards, 95 passing yards, and five total touchdowns. 15 touchdowns in four playoff games.
“He’s doing a lot for us right now — offense, defense, special teams he’s making a huge difference in every aspect for us.”
Quarterback Malik Hornsby had great success connecting deep passes and rounded out the night with seven passes for 184 yards.
“Malik did a great job helping to lead this team out there,” Williams said. “At the end of the day though, it was a team effort. This team and these kids — it’s all just unreal.”
With the win, the Buffalos advance to the state semifinal for the first time in program history after reaching the regional finals four times.
“We were just determined this time around and our guys fought so hard and did a great job,” Williams said. “That’s a fantastic Huntsville team over there, they gave us everything they had.”
The Buffalos will face the winner of Calhoun and Calallen who play on Friday night with a State Championship berth on the line.
With 2:33 remaining in the game, Huntsville quarterback Matthew Southern evaded a couple of Marshall defenders and lobbed it up to Jaylon Griffin for a 64-yard touchdown to give the Hornets their first lead of the night.
“I’ll obviously probably watch that one on film and say ‘hey that was a heck of a play,” head coach Rodney Southern said. “We made a lot of great plays all year so it’s really disappointing that we came up short.”
Huntsville’s loss comes in about as heartbreaking of fashion as it could but head coach Rodney Southern said that the season as a whole will be remembered in a positive light.
“It’s hard to swallow now and it will hurt for a while but we’ll look back on a whole lot of good this year too,” Southern said.
One of the positives from the night was Huntsville’s ability to put Marshall quarterback Malik Hornsby under pressure. Hornsby had to use his legs to get him out of sticky situations.
“I thought we pressured him really well tonight, but I wish we were able to get him on the ground a little bit more,” Southern said, “He’s an incredible athlete, he’s probably the best we’ve seen in 2-3 years.”
With the loss, the Hornets end their season as the 5A-D2 Region II runner-up. The Hornets graduate 26 seniors but Southern is looking forward to the program’s future.
“Hopefully this season will continue to move us forward as a program. This junior class is a good class and we have a lot of them coming back. We’ll have to add and fill in but hopefully, our program is where it needs to be now.”