VINCENT - Warren passed its first road test of the 2011 football campaign with flying colors with wins against Philo and Marietta, respectively.
Now, the Andy Schob-coached Warriors will be hoping to make it 3-0 when they play visiting Athens in their home opener at 7:30 p.m. Friday. Both the royal blue and white and Bulldogs are undefeated on the gridiron so far, so something's got to give.
"It's good to be 2-0," Schob said, "but we've still got work to do."
This season, the Ryan Adams-coached 'Dogs beat Gallia Academy 15-10 in their 2011 lid lifter and Coal Grove 48-14 last Friday night.
Last year's Warren-Athens game at Basil Rutter Field in The Plains went into an extra session with the Warriors rallying to win 34-28. The royal blue and white started 2010 3-0 while Athens went 0-3.
Athens is led by 5-foot-7, 175-pound senior tailback DeVon Sharp on offense and senior middle linebacker Mitch Rider on defense. The two 2010 Tri-Valley Conference (TVC) Ohio Division MVPs are both three-year starters.
Sharp will also probably be handling the kicking chores.
"Sharp is the real deal," Schob said. "He's really quick, and can break one at any time.
"He'll probably be the best back we'll see all year."
Some other Bulldogs to keep an eye on will be senior quarterback Josh Skinner, whose versatility enabled him to play five different positions a year ago, running back Chris Russell, and receivers' Nick Stanley and Skylar Schwarzel.
Russell also plays at strong safety on defense.
The AHS offensive line is anchored by center Travis Taylor.
Defensively, Trevor Sorrel is a returning starter at nose guard, and John Keifer, Jerry Pierce, Josh Mazson and Cody Mack make up the rest of the line.
Warren erased a bad taste in its mouth with last year's loss to Marietta by beating the Tigers 44-24 at Don Drumm Stadium last Friday night. The orange and black, to its credit, did rally and cut it to 24-18 in the third quarter, but they never got any closer.
"The heat and hot weather were miserable," Schob said. "But a win makes it better."
Marietta also never really did have an answer for Warren quarterback Dylan Leffingwell, running back Josh Mays, and receivers' Jeremy Hastie, Jeremy Fivecoait and Josh Windland.
It'll be interesting to see if Athens does.
Overall, the Warriors amassed 456 yards of offense against MHS with Leffingwell throwing for 321 and four touchdowns and Mays rushing for 102 and two TDs.
Hastie, Fivecoait and Windland combined to make 12 receptions for 268 yards and four scores.
"Dylan did a good job of finding the other receivers, besides Jeremy Fivecoait," Schob said.
Defensively, Warren's secondary was hurt by Marietta on a couple of long TD passes. And, on special teams, the Warriors had a punt blocked for an MHS touchdown - so that will need to be addressed in practice this week.
NOTES: Warren's next three games are home tilts. After Athens, the Warriors will begin Southeastern Ohio Athletic League play against Portsmouth and Jackson, respectively.
The royal blue and white will be returning to the road on Sept. 30 when it travels to the Erickson All-Sports Facility to face Parkersburg South in a non-conference game.
"There's no gimmes on our schedule," Schob said. "And, this team is doing a good job of focusing on what's in front of them."