FM Marcus rides running game past Fossil Ridge

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Flower Mound Marcus turned its matchup against Keller Timberview into a game of keep-away.

Marcus’ rushing attack kept Fossil Ridge’s possessions to a minimum, leading to a the 34-0 victory in the 5A Division II bi-district opener at Cowboys Stadium on Saturday.

Marcus’ one-two punch of Harvey Giddens and Jeff Smiley III combined for 257 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 43 carries.

Giddens, the much bigger of the backs, delivered the contact and powered his way through the defensive line to pick up yardage. That set up Smiley, the speedier, finesse back, to take it around the end for the home-run play.

“They’re unbelievable,” Marcus coach Bryan Erwin said. “What a one-two punch. We’ve got a fastball with Harvey and a curveball with Jeff. Harvey is so physical in his running style down behind his pads, and Jeff is so elusive.”

Giddens, who tallied 132 yards rushing, blasted his way into the end zone from 2 yards out in the third quarter. Marcus came out in an offset-I formation with Giddens checking in at fullback, which allows Smiley to remain on the field at halfback to force the defense to split attention between the two playmakers.

Smiley started the Marcus scoring with a 4-yard touchdown run in the first quarter.

“Jeff has a lot of speed, more speed than I’ve ever seen," Giddens said. "My mentality is, I’m just going to hit somebody -- bring the hit and not get hit. It’s a great two-back tandem.”

Marcus’ defense held Fossil Ridge to just 98 yards of total offense and kept pressure on quarterback Sheldon Neuse to take away Fossil Ridge’s deep passing attack.

“They had a tremendous offense,” Erwin said. “The points they’ve put up this year were amazing. We were really concerned going into the game. My hats off to our defensive coaches and players. What a great job.”

Marcus' defense passed its first challenge by keeping Neuse at bay. But just minutes after Marcus' victory, Erwin was already looking ahead to an even stiffer test against quarterback Chuck Taylor and Mansfield Timberview, who they will see in the area round.

“They’re really talented," Erwin said. "They’re fast and athletic and their defense just flies around, and they’ve got a great dual-threat quarterback.”

Marcus will make the return trip to Arlington next Saturday for the area-round match to face Timberview at Cowboys Stadium at 5 p.m.

“It feels amazing," Giddens said. "Last year we lost in the first round, but this year we’re coming into it with our heads up, expecting to take state.”