MAYFIELD – The Mayfield Cardinals were as good as advertised.
Mayfield, ranked first in the state in Class A and with four victories over bigger schools already under its belt, added 6A Marshall County to the list with a 44-7 win at War Memorial Stadium Friday night.
Marshall County moved the ball on offense, rushing for 184 yards; did a workmanlike job on defense against the Cardinals rushing attack, holding them to 131.
Jonathan Jackson, Mayfield’s honorable mention all-state linebacker and running back who scored six touchdowns for the Cardinals against Graves County a week earlier, had a quiet night carrying the ball, rushing 10 times for 45 yards.
Marshall County’s Jamie Gilland, who had six TDs of his own the week before, saw action only on defense as he continues to deal with nagging injuries.
But that merely gave Mayfield quarterback Jake Guhy the spotlight. The reedy junior set a school record, passing for six touchdowns and 285 yards. He completed all but three of his 21 passes with no interceptions.
“My hat’s off to them,” Marshals coach Ron Barnard said simply.
The Mayfield defense pitched a shutout literally until the last second and a fraction of the game. Marty Holbrook went in from six yards out for a Marshall County touchdown with 1.5 seconds left on the game clock. Brock Herndon kicked the extra point.
That made the margin of victory for Mayfield 37 points instead of 44, but the significance of the score was not lost on Barnard.
“It’s huge,” Barnard said of the last-second score. “We knew we were beat, but we kept playing hard. That’s a small victory that we can take from this.”
Mayfield coach Joe Morris agreed.
“You don’t ever want to get shut out,” Morris said. “It was their young kid against our young kids, and they scored. You just want your kids to play hard right to the end.”
Big plays carried the day in the early going for the Cardinals. Guhy threw touchdown passes of 60, 50, 28 and 21 yards.
The longest pass was caught by Jackson. It came on Mayfield’s second possession, after Luke Wynstra had kicked a 32-yard field goal to put Mayfield on the scoreboard first.
Next was the 50-yarder, to Jordan Brown. It came after Marshall County’s Casey White stopped Jackson for a four-yard loss at midfield.
The Marshals mounted a drive from their own 20 to the Mayfield 36, the drive fueled by a 23-yard gain by a 23-yard run by Nolan Nichols. But the drive stalled and a pass attempt on a fake punt turned the ball over on downs to the Cardinals.
The Marshals marched 74 yards to their game-ending touchdown. Holbrook did the bulk of the work, the drive highlighted by a 28-yard ramble that got the ball into Mayfield territory at the 46. Six plays later, Holbrook beat the Mayfield defense on a sweep to the left side of the end zone.
Holbrook and Nichols each had 67 yards rushing. Holbrook also caught one of two passes completed by quarterback Clay Allen, for a one-yard gain. Austin Spicer had the other catch for 14 yards.
The Marshals played with senior receiver-defensive back Noah Steele, sidelined for the second time in the last three games because of injuries. Gilland had a stellar game on defense, with seven solo tackles and an assist. Josh Joyce added five stops and four assists, and White and Dalton Greenfield had four tackles apiece.
“Marshall’s guys played hard,” Morris said. “They were very physical. Their linebackers tackled us as well or better than we’ve been tackled in awhile. Their backs ran hard. We were just a little too quick for them.”