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Jeff Howe's Fort Worth Dunbar-Arlington Heights Game Blog
Arlington Heights junior receiver Marquis Jackson recorded three first half touchdowns and made several clutch plays in the second half to lift the Yellow Jackets to 34-29 victory over the Wildcats.
Listed at 6-foot-1, 200 pounds, Jackson torched the Dunbar (3-2) defense to the tune of 168 yards on four catches with three touchdowns to pace an Arlington Heights (3-2) offensive attack that featured a good mix between big plays early and methodical, ball controlling drives late.
“It was lovely,” Jackson said of the win. “I like the way that we played as a team and we went out and put up a real good fight.”
Jackson said that he took a lot of pride in stepping up to the plate to go against White as the two would be matched up on each other throughout the night.
“All I heard all week was that (White) is the best receiver in the country,” Jackson said. “I felt like I just had to come out here and do my thing.”
Jackson indeed did his thing and it started midway through the first quarter. Just one series after Dunbar took advantage of a short field with Dominique Sanders reaching the end zone on a 22-yard bootleg to cap a three play drive, Jackson caught a quick out, made two defenders miss and was off to the races for a 51-yard score.
Dunbar answered emphatically and pulled ahead 14-7 in the second quarter when defensive back Traylon Williams stepped in front of an errant pass by Arlington Heights’ Omar Valdez and returned the theft 19 yards for a touchdown.
Jackson would pull the Yellow Jackets back even later in the quarter on his second catch of the night, this time as he got behind the Dunbar defense for a 63-yard touchdown reception to tie the game at 14 early in the period.
Dunbar again regained the lead but that did not last long as Jackson made his presence felt again with his third touchdown of the night on as many catches. The Dunbar coaches made some changes to try and neutralize Jackson by putting White in the game as a cornerback and manning him up on Jackson. The plan failed as Jackson ran right by White for a big catch and outran him to the end zone for a 44-yard touchdown to tie the game at 21 at halftime.
Jackson said there was no secret to the show he put on during the first 24 minutes other than he was simply living in the moment.
“My adrenaline was pumping and I was just ready to go,” Jackson said. “It was great. We try to spread the ball around and get everyone involved, I just knew I had to do my best when I got my chances.”
Despite being held in check for most of the game thanks to an Arlington Heights pass rush that took away Dunbar’s passing attack, White came alive in the fourth quarter with an effort worthy of his lofty praise.
With Dunbar trailing 28-21 late in the fourth quarter, the Wildcats faced a third and four at their own 44-yard line. Quarterback Eric Martin lofted pass down the right sideline and White made his best play of the night by beating Jackson off the line and running under the ball for a 36-yard reception. Two plays later Martin punched his way across the goal line for a one yard touchdown run.
On the two point conversion White lined up behind the center in the swinging gate formation and took the snap, started to his right and then weaved his way through a pack of Yellow Jacket defenders in the middle of the field before pushing his way across the goal line to give the Wildcats a 29-28 lead with 3:14 remaining in regulation.
But just as they did on their other scoring drive of the second half, the Yellow Jackets rode the legs of running back Michael Jacobs, who finished the game with 177 yards rushing and two touchdowns. Jacobs, along with a few key runs by Jackson, milked the clock and marched Arlington Heights into Dunbar territory and eventually into the end zone when Jacobs cross the goal line from one-yard out for the game’s final score with 30 seconds left on the game clock.
Dunbar tried to move the ball down the field on its last drive but Martin’s pass to Sanders drained precious time off of the clock as Sanders was wrestled to the ground after a long struggle to try and get out of bounds. Dunbar’s final play saw Sanders catch a short pass and make some moves up the field but he was eventually tackled while trying to lateral the ball to a teammate ending the game.
“Our kids will be alright, they’ll get over this,” Dunbar head coach Todd Lawson said. “We just have to learn that we can’t just step on the field and beat people and that we have to compete hard for four quarters.”
White finished the game with three catches for 57 yards and averaged more than 42 yards per punt.