By Jeremy Balan
SAN RAFAEL – We learned a lot about the Marshall High School football team on Friday night, from the stunningly good, to the head-shakingly bad.
Both were vividly displayed in a 70-42 road loss to San Rafael and the difference between the good and the bad was as clear as the line of scrimmage.
On offense, the Phoenix (0-1) struck like lightning, led by a standout performance from senior running back Quintrell Anderson, who ran for a staggering 256 yards and three touchdowns on just 11 carries.
Anderson scored on touchdown runs of 50, 43 and 65 yards, and displayed a powerful running style, with which he barreled through countless tackles to extend long runs.
The Phoenix also exhibited big-play ability in the passing game, where quarterback Joey Sagaio connected with 6-foot-5 wide receiver Albert Collins twice for touchdown passes spanning 61 and 67 yards.
“I told [Anderson] my goal for him was 300 yards on 15 carries after I watched the film on San Rafael,” said first-year head coach Nicholas Wilson. “He and Albert Collins are spectacular. Both of those guys are Division-I caliber.”
As exciting as the Phoenix offense was, the defensive effort was excruciating.
Marshall allowed the Bulldogs (1-1) to run for 593 yards, led by sophomore Gerardo Dominiko, who ran for a team-high 245 yards in San Rafael’s triple-option offense that didn’t attempt a pass. Senior Hunter Murphy added 107 yards on 19 carries and three other San Rafael runners tallied 74-yards or more.
“It’s what we’re built to do,” San Rafael head coach Clay Jackson said of the run-heavy attack. “We’re very young on defense and our tackling is just not there. That’s way to many points to give up.”
Although neither defense forced a punt or a turnover on downs and the game was tied at 14-14 after the first quarter, the difference was turnovers. San Rafael lost just one fumble, while the Phoenix turned the ball over three times. The Bulldogs also recovered an onside kick.
As frustrating as the defensive effort was, the most discouraging hurdle for the Phoenix didn’t even take place on the field.
Wilson said that eight players were ruled ineligible this week for various reasons, including four just hours before the game on Friday.
Marshall had only 17 players in pads for the game on Friday night, and with a few injuries, several players were overextended.
“We found out four starters were ineligible today for different reasons,” Wilson said. “That hurt us, because all of the sudden our quarterback goes from a backup cornerback to our starting middle linebacker. Then, a couple of people get hurt, and I have two corners playing middle linebacker against a Wing-T team. That’s not going to work.”
Despite the result and Marshall’s history, Wilson did not back down from his comments over the summer, stating the Phoenix are the the best team in the Academic Athletic Association, but did acknowledge that he has plenty to learn in his first year as a high school head coach.
“I think we’re going to be a better team because of this,” Wilson said. “I’m of the opinion that you can only learn from these things.”
San Rafael broke a 12-game losing streak with the win over Marshall.
SR: 9:10 – Alex Pulido 4-yard run (Hunter Murphy run on conversion)
M: 8:00 – Quintrell Anderson 50-yard run (Joey Sagaio run on conversion)
SR: 5:19 – Jose Sanchez 11-yard run (conversion failed)
M: 0:44 – Albert Collins 61-yard pass from Sagaio (conversion failed)
SR: 10:06 – Alan Garcia 22-yard run (Murphy run on conversion)
M: 8:56 – Albert Collins 67-yard pass from Sagaio (conversion failed)
SR: 5:49 – Gerardo Dominiko 28-yard run (Dominiko run on conversion)
SR: 0:22 – Murphy 1-yard run (Pulido run on conversion)
M: 10:08 – Anderson 43-yard run (Collins pass from Sagaio on conversion)
SR: 7:00 – Pulido 4-yard run (Pulido run on conversion)
SR: 1:43 – Dominiko 5-yard run (Luke Johnston run on conversion)
M: 10:18 – Sagaio 6-yard run (conversion failed)
SR: 8:33 – Pulido 6-yard run (Pulido run on conversion)
SR: 5:58 – Murphy 5-yard run (Pulido run on conversion)
M: 5:16 – Anderson 65-yard run (Kelvin Bibbs pass from Sagaio on conversion)