MARLOW — Just a little change by Marlow’s defense became a huge “Payne” Friday night for Frederick.
The second-ranked Outlaws secured the District 2A-4 title and become only the third team in school history to start a season 9-0 by grounding the Bombers, 48-7. Marlow’s defense was so dominant it forced three turnovers, allowed just 32 yards and one first down in the first half.
And the wing clipping of the Bombers started earlier in the week when Marlow head coach Matt Weber and Company decided to move Avery Payne from safety to cornerback and insert Jace Gilbert into the defensive backfield for the first time this season.
Payne’s mission: Lock down Frederick receiving threat Alford Cathey.
Mission accepted – and mission accomplished.
With Cathey locked down, Frederick quarterback Adrian Gayton couldn’t find a place to throw, run or hide. The Bombers managed to gain just three yards in the first quarter, and then the Outlaws forced two fumbles and an interception in the second stanza. All three turnovers led to Marlow touchdowns.
It took Frederick 20 game minutes to gain a first down, and the Bombers didn’t cross midfield until midway through the third stanza.
“That’s the best game we’ve played all year,” Payne said. “Everything just worked. The game plan was to stop (Cathey) – he’s their main playmaker – and not let anyone get behind us in the secondary. It worked. There is still a lot of room to improve in spots, but we are playing good right now.”
The Outlaws played a mixture of starters and backups in the second half and still allows just 153 total yards and nine first downs. The Bombers averaged ran 44 offensive plays and average just 3.5 yards a snap.
“That’s a good offensive team with a lot of offensive weapons, and we basically held them scoreless,” Weber said. “We turned them over several times – that’s how you get up 48-0 at half.”
Marlow had no trouble moving the ball. The Outlaws scored on seven of eight first half possessions, including the first three series. Marlow took the opening drive 72 yards on 9 plays, riding the legs of Gilbert and Julian Marroquin. Marroquin carried four times for 41 yards, and Gilbert rushed 8 times for 18 yards. He also completed one pass to Payne for 20 yards.
Gilbert capped the drive with a 2-yard run behind center Chance O’Neal and right guard Konnor Rhodes. Gilbert added the extra-point, and the Outlaws led, 7-0, with 7:53 left in the first quarter.
After the Outlaws forced a three-and-out, Marlow marched 58 yards in eight plays to take a 14-0 lead. Gilbert threw a key 30-yard pass to Payne on second-and 22 and then found Will Bergner for a 14-yard gain on the next play. Four plays later, Gilbert walked over the blocks of O’Neal and Rhodes again for a 3-yard touchdown. Gilbert added the extra-point, and Marlow led 14-0 with 3:42 left in the initial stanza.
After forcing another four-and-out, the Outlaws set up shop at midfield. Gilbert threw a swing pass to Marroquin in the right flat. Marroquin stood up and fired a pass to a wide open Bergner down the right sideline who ran untouched for a 50-yard touchdown. Gilbert tacked on the extra-point to make it 21-0 Marlow at the end of the first quarter.
Marlow did not score on its next series. The Outlaws drove to the Frederick 14-yard line and faced a fourth-and-3, but the Bombers stopped Gilbert one yard short to force a turnover on downs.
On the next play Josiah Johnson recovered a fumble by Frederick’s Ryse Neugebauer at the 13-yardline. Four plays later, Gilbert ran over the block of O’Neal and scored from 7 yards out. Gilbert added the extra-point, and the Outlaws led, 28-0, with 7:05 left before intermission.
Marlow needed just three plays on its next drive to score. Gilbert opened the series with a 20-yard pass to Johnson and then a play later thew a 30-yard touchdown pass to Berger.
Brennan Morgan recovered a Gayton fumble to give the Outlaws the ball at the Frederick 39. Gilbert immediately found Adlee Ellisworth for a 39-yard touchdown. Marco Clemente blocked Gilbert’s extra-point attempt.
On the next play from scrimmage, Barron Gage intercepted a pass to give the Outlaws the ball at the Frederick 16. Cole Hayes carried for 7 yards on the first play and then found the end zone from 9 yards out on the next play. Gilbert tacked on the extra point to give Marlow a 48-0 half time lead.
Frederick’s only points came on a 15-yard touchdown run by Cory Keasler on the last play of the third quarter.
The Marlow Outlaws will look for history as no Outlaws team has ever gone 10-0 in the regular season. The Outlaws have a chance to change that at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 5 when they travel to Tishomingo.