HUMBLE - In the past three weeks, Crosby has been far from the favorite.
Playing the role of the underdog, the Cougars - which are in the midst of their deepest playoff run since 2014 - have knocked off in consecutive weeks previously undefeated and Top 5-ranked Class 5A teams in Texas to advance to the Class 5A Division II State Semifinals.
On Friday, after beating No. 5 Texas High (62-42) and No. 4 Huntsville (32-29/OT), Crosby stared down No. 3 Fort Bend Marshall, a program that has played for a state championship each of the last two seasons.
Powered by Reggie Branch's four-touchdown performance, a 28-point fourth quarter and timely defensive stands, Crosby upended Fort Bend Marshall 37-28 at Humble ISD's Turner Stadium to advance to the State Semifinals.
"It's a special group," Crosby coach Jerry Prieto said. "They set out on a mission last year when Huntsville knocked us out. They're just tough. We come out, we have some kids but we're not the prettiest looking team, especially not the last three weeks. Our kids just fight and we've been in a bunch of tough, close games this year and it's paying off for us."
VYPE POSTGAME: @CrosbyHSCougars head coach Jerry Prieto talks with VYPE after the win. First state semis appearance for Cougars since 2014. #txhsfb @KPRC2RandyMc @AshlyElamSports @reggie1branch @DeniquezDunn2 @TrevorHelburg pic.twitter.com/CBeyYIjZFY— vypehouston (@vypehouston) January 1, 2021
Crosby will face the winner of Liberty Hill-Pioneer next week and with a win would advance to the program's first title game appearance since 1960.
The combination of Branch and Deniquez Dunn in the backfield is electric for the Cougars.
In the win over Fort Bend Marshall, Branch finished with 200 yards and three touchdowns rushing and another 71 yards and a touchdown receiving, racking up 271 total yards and four scores. For Dunn, he finished 11 of 22 for 133 yards and one touchdown passing.
VYPE Postgame: @CrosbyHSCougars QB/RB/WR @reggie1branch talks with VYPE after the 37-28 victory over Fort Bend Marshall. He had 4 TDs today. #txhsfb @DeniquezDunn2 @isd_crosby @AshlyElamSports @TrevorHelburg @KPRC2RandyMc pic.twitter.com/9CI6NBowjH— vypehouston (@vypehouston) January 1, 2021
The defensive unit held a Fort Bend Marshall team to just 28 points after the Buffs had scored more than 40 points in each of their last two playoff games and was seeking a third-straight trip to the UIL Class 5A Division II State Championship game.
"That's one of the best programs not only in Houston but the state," Prieto said. "It's something we want to build here is to be playing like those guys. Regional Championship games every year, state finals and build the type of program that they have there.
"A very humbling experience knocking them off today."
Fort Bend Marshall was led by Roland Harvey going 21 of 38 for 369 yards and three touchdowns. Chris Marshall led the team in receiving with 200 yards and two touchdowns on seven grabs in just three quarters due to being disqualified after his second unsportsmanlike penalty at the end of the third quarter. Ja'Vion Matthews had 169 yards and two touchdowns receiving on 14 catches.
VYPE Playoff 🏈 Game Report: @CrosbyHSCougars defeats @MarshallBuffs 37-28 to advance to State Semifinals 3rd time ever | @reggie1branch had 4 TDs | #txhsfb— vypehouston (@vypehouston) January 1, 2021
(@KPRC2RandyMc @AshlyElamSports @DeniquezDunn2 @TrevorHelburg @isd_crosby @JerryPrieto8 @texashsfootball @MaxPreps) pic.twitter.com/rJlZVidayS