There was plenty of room on the Marlin football bandwagon earlier in the 2003 season when the Texas prep team finished its first five games of the season with just a 1-4 record.
But it's filling up fast because Marlin, led by standouts and possible future Arkansas Razorbacks Matterial "Red" Richardson and D'Nerian Wrighter, has won its last 10 games and is set to play for the Class 3A Division II state title this upcoming weekend.
The duo helped Marlin (11-4) grab the title game berth against Atlanta (11-4) by finishing off Port Isabel 41-10 Saturday night in the Alamodome.
Richardson had a 67-yard touchdown run on his only carry of the night and he and Wrighter, who had one of his team's three interceptions.
"We've been saying that all year, that we're going to the 'ship, and now we're almost there," Wrighter told the Waco Tribune right after the win. "We want that championship."
While both young men make big plays on offense, they are being recruited by major colleges for their defensive prowess.
Richardson (5-10, 183, 4.5) is a lockdown cover cornerback while Wrighter (6-1, 205, 4.41) is a big-hitting safety.
"We make for a great duo," Richardson said. "When you've got somebody like him (Wrighter) back there, you can take some chances."
Both young men, who live in the same household, will be in Fayetteville for official visits during Arkansas' big recruiting weekend Jan. 16-18.
UA assistant Chris Vaughn, the Razorbacks' recruiting coordinator, has clearly done a great job with the pair.
"We just love Coach Vaughn to death," Richardson said. "He is real down to earth, a guy we really get along with and one that we certainly can see ourselves being around in college. He is part of a great coaching staff they have."
Richardson has been receiving interest from Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Texas A&M and Houston.
As of Sunday, he only had visits to Arkansas and Houston (Jan. 16-23) set up.
"Arkansas is definitely my favorite and I am looking forward to my visit," Richardson said. "I know that they are in need of some cornerbacks so that is another reason that makes it very attractive to me."
Wrighter has told The Insiders network that Arkansas is also his favorite among a group that have offered including Missouri, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Florida and Notre Dame.
"I'm going to wait until the end of January to make my decision because I want to surprise my mother," Wrighter said.
"...I'd say Arkansas is the school that stands out a bit from the others right now. I really enjoy speaking with Coach (Chris) Vaughn, and they play in the SEC Conference. I know I will go to either the Big 12 or SEC Conference most likely. Arkansas loses a lot of defensive backs, and I'd have a great chance to make an early contribution."
Marlin duo not Im-Matterial to UA
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