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Farmers' Harvest

The school news site of Lewisville High School

Farmers' Harvest

The school news site of Lewisville High School

Farmers' Harvest

Keeping the axe in the trophy case

Farmers cruise to homecoming win over Wildcats, anticipate rivalry game against Marauders
AJ Jackson
Senior quarterback Ethan Terrell (7) scans the field for an open receiver to pass the ball to during the first quarter of the homecoming game against Plano Senior.

No other game the varsity football team (5-2, 3-1 in District 6-6A) plays receives as much attention as the annual matchup against the Marcus Marauders (3-4, 3-1).

“This is going to be my first year playing in it, and I’m so excited,” junior defensive end Sean Oliver said. “It’s going to be a big crowd since I heard tickets sold out super quick, so this is going to be lit. I’m ready.”

The Battle of the Axe (BOTA) is the event of the year for both football teams. Walls are plastered with taunts. Tickets sell out within days–sometimes hours–of opening sales.

The team travels to Marcus tonight at 7 p.m. for the 38th annual meeting between the rivals. The Farmers have the axe after a 17-14 win last season and look to win a consecutive BOTA game for the first time since winning five straight from 1998 to 2002.

“We haven’t won at Marcus since 2018,” Oliver said. “Since we have the axe, we’re expecting them to come hard. They haven’t shown too much on film, but they’re going to bring everything they’ve got just to try and get it back. They’re not going to get it back.”

The Marauders offense has leaned on the passing game with junior quarterback Dane Parlin approaching 1500 passing yards and throwing for 12 touchdowns to 10 interceptions this season. His primary target is senior wide receiver Karic Grennan, who leads the team in receptions (46), yards (605) and touchdowns (6).

“We expect them to have their best run plays for us and to throw to their top two dynamic receivers,” co-special teams coordinator Robert Lewis said. “We have to make sure we develop the defense and stop whatever they do.”

Marcus’ defense is experienced and held the Plano West Wolves (1-6, 1-3) to seven points in their last game, but faced a hard non-district schedule in which they allowed over 50 points in three consecutive games. Senior defensive end Will Upshaw, senior defensive tackle Matthew Bryant and junior defensive end Tony Lee are key to trying to win the line of scrimmage.

“I think it’s going to be a good matchup,” senior wide receiver Lamar Kerby said. “We’re expecting to dissect their defense, and hopefully we can speed up our tempo.”

The Farmers powered their way to a 42-10 win against the Plano Wildcats (2-5, 0-4) last week. The team struggled to get the offense moving until the second quarter, leading 8-3 after 12 minutes thanks to a defensive score by junior defensive end Rhyan Sewell. Three-and-outs and drives stalled by penalties have plagued the offense early in games throughout the season.

“Our district is good enough to where anybody can lose at any given time,” Lewis said. “Once the dust settles, our guys have the competence to know what’s going on. They just flow.”

Defensively, the Farmers have allowed 17 points since the 49-28 loss to the Coppell Cowboys (7-0, 4-0). The group has managed to stay relatively healthy and will get a boost with the return of senior cornerback Tony-Louis Nkuba, who hadn’t played since being injured against Coppell.

“Tony is back and he’s good to go,” Lewis said. “He’s had a good week of practice and we expect a lot out of him, so we’re happy to have him back.”

The rivals’ 3-1 district records have them tied for second place in District 6-6A. Between the rivalry, the playoff race and playing on the road, where the team is 1-2, BOTA will ‘once again’ have a unique atmosphere, adding to the challenge.

“We can do better [in road games] for sure,” Kerby said. “We just have to adapt to the environment and block out the distractions. If we lock in, we should have no problems.”

Around the elevated hype, the game plan remains routine: run the ball behind a strong offensive line and throw when needed to, while forcing turnovers and havoc on defense.

“We know how much this game means to the community and to the guys growing up,” Lewis said. “But when you’re in the midst of the battle, it’s about going 1-0, no matter the opponent. We respect Marcus and love the history behind the game, but we need to make sure we’re ready to go like it’s any other game.”

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