Banks, Marshall a dominant duo for Buffs
Last week's dominant season-opening performances from Fort Bend Marshall's Ja'koby Banks and Chris Marshall will not be the exception in 2021. They are the expected.
The junior dual-threat, signal-calling dynamo Banks and the senior awe-inspiring pass-catcher Marshall looked like a seasoned duo in Week 1's 68-34 win over Aldine Eisenhower. You'd never have guessed it was their first time starting together; Banks making his debut as QB1 and Marshall playing just his 13th game at receiver.
Banks ran the ball seven times for 167 yards and three touchdowns while completing six of 11 passes for 154 yards and two touchdowns. Marshall caught four balls for 116 yards and two scores.
"Chris is a phenomenal player," coach James Williams said. "He's going to get the ball. No doubt about that. Ja'koby played a great game, made some great reads."
Fort Bend Marshall junior quarterback Ja'koby Banks.Bradley Collier | VYPE Media
Fort Bend Marshall senior receiver Chris Marshall.Courtesy
In his first game captaining the Buffalos' prolific offense, the 5-foot-11, 175-pound Banks played like a poised veteran, taking what the defense gave him. He showed off a quick release and strong arm, as well as an innate ability to shed any oncoming tacklers, buying time for his receivers to get open or running gaps to form.
"I read safety to corner," Banks said. "Go through my reads. With teammates like I've got, they make everything easy for me."
Not long after the game against Eisenhower ended, Banks received a scholarship offer from Texas A&M.
My goodness, @jakoby_banks. S-H-I-F-T-Y. #txhsfb @FBISDAthletics @MarshallBuffs @MHS_Buffs https://t.co/L7L9uwQzRI— Dennis Silva II (@Dennis Silva II) 1630027586.0
The 6-fooot-4 Marshall, who also stars on the basketball court and had a vicious dunk over a hapless defender in an AAU game this summer that went viral on social media, makes everyone's life easier. The four-star recruit barely broke a sweat in scoring two early touchdowns and leaving Eagles defenders in his dust.
Marshall's bond with Banks is evident. Unsolicited, in one-on-one interviews, each called the other "a brother."
"He's been my boy since last year," Marshall said. "It was my first year playing and it was his first year on varsity. We both had our first touchdowns together, you know. So, we've had that bond and we're only growing and building on it. Trying to get the best out of each other every game. That's what we're trying to do."
Banks said Marshall is a "generational talent." Marshall holds 24 offers, including Texas A&M, Alabama, USC and Arizona State.
"That's my guy," Banks said. "If I can get the ball in his hands, I know he'll make plays. He's the kind of athlete where if he puts the work in to any sport, he'll do it, and do it well. It is what it is with Chris."
Didn’t take long. Twenty-four seconds, to be exact. @jakoby_banks to Chris Marshall on a 57-yard catch and run on t… https://t.co/QeYmMkVrVm— Dennis Silva II (@Dennis Silva II) 1630023059.0
Marshall is only in his second year of playing receiver. Last year, he was a breakout sensation with 1,008 yards and 17 touchdowns on 44 catches. He barely knew the ins and outs of the position and relied almost exclusively on transcendent athletic talent.
This season, Marshall said he's "way more comfortable."
"All the work I've put, the work no one sees … route-running and just me being able to get in and out of my breaks better," Marshall said. "Getting my hands way stronger. Finishing plays."
Banks and Marshall are two fiery competitors who try not to get too high or too low. Just compete and work hard every day. So far, they're off to a great start.
"If we can just keep working like we've been working," Banks said, "we've got something going."