When the Marietta High football team travels to McConnelsville for tonight's scheduled 7:30 p.m. game against host Morgan, it probably won't be on a certain bus.
"We don't want to ride Bus 20 again," said first-year Tigers' head coach Craig Farnsworth.
It's easy to understand why Farnsworth feels that way.
A week ago, Marietta High was slated to play a 7:30 p.m. scrimmage at Washington Court House. But a not-so-funny thing happened along the way.
Bus 20 broke down.
Luckily, there was a convenience store nearby.
"We were just on the other side of Athens," Farnsworth said. "We went behind the store and worked on some things.
"It took about an hour and 15 minutes before another bus could get there."
Needless to say, when 7:30 p.m. rolled around at Washington Court House, Marietta was not on the field, not even in the town - but the Tigers were en route.
As it turned out, the scrimmage didn't get under way until 9 p.m. And, despite all the adversity on the highway, Marietta fared pretty well.
"The score was 7-6," Farnsworth said. "We had a bad snap on an extra point."
The coach paused.
"After the opening kickoff, the defense held them (Washington Court House) to one first down," he continued. "Then, we marched down the field, and on a fourth-and-two, Billy Moore scored on an 18-yard touchdown run."
Farnsworth said he was very pleased with his team's effort, and singled out a couple of Tigers for praise.
"Mitchel Gearhart had a real nice game on kick returns," the coach said. "And, Justin Futrell continues to improve as our quarterback."
Farnsworth said Futrell completed four-of-five passes during the scrimmage, and that his one incompletion was a dropped ball.
The coach was also happy with the way the defense performed.
"They looked good in the 4-3 (alignment)," Farnsworth said. "We still have a lot of work to do on both sides of the ball, though."
Marietta didn't arrive back home in Washington County until about 1:30 a.m. Saturday, Farnsworth said.
"I only got a couple of hours of sleep that night," he said. "But then again, it's the football season."
Tigers conditioning in middle of practice
Farnsworth believes the biggest thing about the season opener is that his team will be playing a "full game" this time.
"We only dressed 23 against Washington Court House," he said.
"This week, we were able to pick up three more kids. Still...the question is, can we play four quarters and be competitive?"
Farnsworth said the Tigers have been "practicing tired" to get ready for Morgan.
"We've been doing a lot of our conditioning in the middle of practices," the coach said.
Last year, Marietta routed Morgan 59-20 at Don Drumm Stadium.
But a lot of things have changed since then, like new head coaches, philosophies, etc.
"They ran the spread last year," Farnsworth said. "But they're in the I-formation or Wing-T, now. They'll be much improved.
"Really, though - and it's an old cliche - it'll all come down to blocking and tackling."
And, of course, not riding Bus 20 to the game.
Ron Johnston is the Marietta Times sports editor, and can be reached at 376-5441 or at firstname.lastname@example.org