More Thoughts on Coker's Big Day
Some extra thoughts on Marcus Coker’s record-setting performance in DeMatha’s 56-35 victory over Gilman on Saturday. Coker finished with 391 yards and five touchdowns on 24 carries.
As Coker started piling on the yardage during the third quarter, I checked with a few longtime DeMatha followers to ask what the school single-game rushing record might be. While no one knew off the top of their heads, it seemed a safe bet that no Stag had ever reached the 300-yard mark previously. DeMatha always has plenty of talent to spread the ball around and when the Stags put that many points on the board, it’s rare for the starters to be in the game – let alone getting the ball – in the fourth quarter.
What was different this time, though, was that Gilman kept scoring quickly. It wasn’t a stretch to say Gilman remained within striking distance, especially given quarterback Darius Jennings’ big-play ability.
Consider that until his 80-yard touchdown run late in the first half, Coker had just seven carries for 45 yards. And 25 of that came on his first carry of the game, a run around left end. In fact, for the game, nearly all of Coker’s yardage came from running to the left, behind tackle Arie Kouandjio and guard Shane Johnson.
“I was really hoping for him to come to the left” every play, Kouandjio said. “Oh, they had a play to the right side [for one touchdown] so my brother [starting right tackle Cyrus Kouandjio] got that one.”
Coker continues to wear a plastic mask over his face, essentially a helmet under his helmet, to protect an injury that occurred over the summer. In a 7-on-7 passing league game, Coker was playing linebacker when he went for the ball and collided with another player, breaking his nose on both sides and fracturing three bones under his left eye.
In order to create the plastic mask, which is clear and quite hard, Coker said that the manufacturer took a laser scan of his face in order to create a mold of his face so that the mask fit well. Still, he said it is uncomfortable and “makes it hard to breathe and see.”
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