Football: History awaits for Marquez, thanks to plenty of help
Comments 1 OHS back close to program rushing record
September 23, 2010 11:40 PM
It’s going to happen.
No longer is it a matter of if, but when, for Odessa High senior running back Bradley Marquez to become the most prolific runner in program history.
When that moment arrives — more than likely tonight during the Bronchos’ homecoming game at Ratliff Stadium against Amarillo High — it’s only fitting that Marquez will surrounded by the people most responsible for his success.
Because much like when Bryon Townsend was running wild more than 60 years ago for the “Red Hosses” while setting the record, holes don’t miraculously open in the offensive line. Opposing linebackers and defensive backs don’t often fall down as players run past.
Marquez always has acknowledged the contributions of his teammates and now, on the cusp of breaking Odessa High’s oldest record on the books, the story stays the same.
“There is no way I’d be anywhere close to where I am without them,” Marquez said. “The linemen, the other running backs, all the wide receivers blocking downfield, they are the ones that helped me get here.
“It’s as much their record as it is mine.”
When Townsend burst onto the scene in 1945, Clayton Hopkins was coaching at Odessa High and World War II had just ended. The Bronchos finished 11-1 that season and reached the second round of the playoffs before losing 35-0 to Wichita Falls.
The 1946 season, however, would change things for the Bronchos.
Joe Coleman, back from the service, returned to the head coaching position. Townsend, quarterback Hayden Fry and running back Harvey (Pug) Gabrel all were a year older, wiser and stronger.
The Moormans (Billy and Bob), along with Gordon Headlee, Glenn Taylor, H.L. (Sonny) Holderman, Wayne Jones, Steve Dowden, Harry Pace and Herman Foster all were ready to assume the roles that eventually would carry the Bronchos to the state championship.
On the way to the championship, Townsend’s legend grew as he rushed for 1,293 yards.
He cemented the legacy as a senior in 1947, gaining 1,570 yards and scoring 168 points as the Bronchos advanced to the state semifinals with a 26-game winning streak before losing 18-6 to Highland Park.
Townsend moved from the Bronchos to the Texas Longhorns and eventually the Los Angeles Rams before being drafted during the Korean War. In the ensuing decades, his exploits have gained near mythical status among OHS fans, the 3,463 rushing yards seemingly untouchable through the years.
“He’s the best that’s ever come through here,” Bronchos coach Ron King said. “It’s been more than 60 years and no one had come close to what he did when he was at OHS.”
When the 2010 season started, the biggest question for Marquez wasn’t if he would catch Townsend, but whether his left elbow would be completely healed and ready for action.
Injured during the first half of last year’s game against Permian, Marquez missed the entire second half of last season and the Bronchos’ first playoff game against El Paso Franklin.
He finally made it back to the field against Arlington High, gaining 74 yards on 11 carries with two touchdowns.
But the questions about Marquez’s elbow really wouldn’t be answered until OHS traveled for its first contest of the 2010 season against Arlington Bowie. He passed with flying colors, gaining 123 yards and scoring one touchdown to open his senior season.
“I was nervous that night,” Marquez said. “It was strange, because I didn’t know what to expect.”
What he did was give OHS fans a reason to expect more — and then he delivered.
The names have changed, but the task remains the same — open holes and block downfield, giving Marquez and backfield mates Ryan Rios and Ivan Subia the best chance for success.
Andrew Lopez, Cody Dykstra, Hugo Sanchez, Gabriel Martinez and Ben Cline have replaced the Moormans, Dowden, Foster, Jones and Headlee in this record-setting scenario, with Rios in place of Fry, Subia standing in for Gabrel and wide receivers Johnny Campos and Jonathan Lara mimicking the duties of Billy and Bob Moorman on the outside.
Add in the names of Derrick Teegarden, Ruben Talamantes, Dex Dennard, Gabriel Rodriguez and Tyler McQueen, and you see that Marquez has had plenty of company on this trip.
“I always tell Bradley to follow me,” said Subia, who has become a lead blocker for Marquez on many a play called by King and running-game coordinator Boe Smith.
“We knew at the beginning of the season that he was going to get this chance to break the record and it’s something that everyone on this team is proud to be a part of, to get the chance to say they were there when Bradley broke the mark.
“I just tell him to keep it up and I’ll see you in the end zone and give you a hug. When he’s having success, the team is having success, and that’s what it’s all about.”
Marquez certainly has been having success the past three weeks.
The ultimate run to the record started with a 255-yard, four-touchdown performance against Lubbock Monterey on Sept. 3, and then Marquez ramped up the pressure on Townsend with a single-game record 380 yards and six touchdowns against Amarillo Tascosa on Sept. 9.
That left him 471 yards shy of Townsend, a distance that many felt would be covered over the course of three or four games.
Marquez and his teammates had other ideas.
When the Bronchos faced San Angelo Central last week, Marquez matched his 380-yard output exactly and stepped squarely into the spotlight.
Now he needs just 92 yards to topple Townsend’s 63-year record.
“It feels good, really good,” Lopez said. “It’s better because we know that it’s a team thing. We all run down to the end zone to celebrate with Bradley every time he scores.
“I’ve been expecting this since I started blocking for him in the seventh grade at Crockett. We all knew then that he was going to have a chance to be good, it was just how good was he going to be?”
>> ODESSA HIGH vs. AMARILLO HIGH
Odessa High, 3-1; Amarillo High, 2-2.
OHS 40, San Angelo Central 27; Midland Lee 28, Amarillo High 21.
Live updates: www.oavarsity.com
>> RECORD IN SIGHT
Odessa High all-time rushing
3,463 yards (Byron Townsend, 1945-47).
In close pursuit:
Bradley Marquez (3,372 yards, 2008-10).
91 to tie record; 92 to break it.