Andrew Johnson is no stranger to high school rivalry soccer matches.
The first-year Warren boys' boss played in a number of them as a prep player for the Parkersburg Big Reds against Parkersburg South in Wood County, W.Va.
Now, Johnson will get an opportunity to coach in one on the other side of the Ohio River in Washington County when the Warriors host the Todd Morris-led Marietta Tigers in a non-conference tilt at 7 p.m. today.
"I think it will be an exciting, tough game," said Johnson, who was a starting sweeper when PHS won back-to-back state championships in 2005 and 2006. "It's nice to have the home field advantage with our fan support. I think that could be a factor."
Warren owns a 5-1-1 overall record (3-0 Southeastern Ohio Athletic League) going into tonight's showdown. Perhaps ironically, the Warriors are coming off a 4-1 win over Parkersburg South on Tuesday.
"We've been playing well," said Johnson whose royal blue and white booters haven't lost a match since dropping their season opener to Zanesville. WHS also tied Athens.
Marietta has also enjoyed a solid campaign on the pitch so far with a 7-1 overall mark (3-0 East Central Ohio League). The Tigers are coming off a 3-0 league win against visiting Coshocton on Tuesday night.
Last Saturday morning, MHS beat Chillicothe 3-1 on goals by Skylar Miracle, Cole Hamilton and Tim Grosel at Columbus Crew Stadium. The victory was Morris' 50th as the Tigers' head man.
Grosel leads Marietta in scoring with six goals and five assists. Brennan Uhrig has six goals and three assists and Cole Hamilton four scores and four assists. Brent Huck has put the ball into the back of the onion basket three times and dished out one assist.
The Tigers' other probable starters will be Andrew Roberts, Ethan Bloomingdale, Steven Stollar, Jacob Hupp (keeper), Matt Roberts, Daniel Haught, and Miracle.
Warren is expected to counter with leading scorer Daniel Rohr, Sam Arnold, Derek Schwendeman, Nick Koch, Alex Miller, Ethan Ida, Ty Kroner, Evan Yabs, Ben Hopkins (keeper), Gavin Fleming and Aaron Mazurkiewicz.
MHS leads the all-time series against Warren with a 44-8-4 advantage, including 18-5-4 in Vincent. Last season, the Warriors handed the Tigers their only regular season setback, 1-0, in Vincent.
"This is a game you look forward to," Morris said. "It's a rivalry game. The guys know each other. They've played with each other. It may not be a conference game anymore, but it is still important for potential district seeding and for the bragging rights.
"The games are always intense, physical, emotional. There is always a big crowd and that is what makes it fun, the atmosphere. We know they will be prepared and ready for us. We just need to be up for the challenge, which I think we will be. Should be a lot of fun."