Andy Schob is hoping that after playing an elite high school football team like Jackson, it brings out the best in the Warriors.
"Jackson is the best team in the entire area," said the second-year Warren head coach, whose Warriors (3-2) dropped a 42-17 decision to the visiting and undefeated Ironmen (5-0) in a Southeastern Ohio Athletic League contest last Saturday night.
"We knew we had to play very well to win," Schob continued. "Our kids played hard and proved we can compete and play at that level most of the time. We have to be more consistent with that level and execution to win these games.
"Our effort and intensity was solid again, and we are making progress on the kind of team and program we want to become. We are excited for the second half of the season."
Warren's second half of the season kicks off on the road against Parkersburg South (2-2) in a non-conference gridiron battle at the Erickson All-Sports Facility at 7:30 p.m. Friday. The Jon Bolen-coached Patriots aren't the Jackson Ironmen, but they're still a pretty darn good, competitive football team.
"South is coming off a very big win against a strong University team in Morgantown (W.Va.)," Schob said. "They are a large West Virginia triple-A school (comparable to an Ohio Division I school).
"They are very talented, especially their junior class."
After spotting University High a 37-yard field goal on its opening drive, South blanked the host Hawks for the remainder of the contest and in the process scored 21 unanswered points to win 21-3.
Jesse Fickiesen, a 6-foot, 165-pound junior, rushed for two touchdowns, and Braxton Johnson, a 5-11, 155-pound senior, ran for another to lead the winners. Jordan Quiocho, the starting tailback at 5-6, 140 pounds, did not play.
South is quarterbacked by 6-2, 165-pound junior Tyler Bolen, the head coach's son. Against University, the younger Bolen completed four-of-nine passes for 20 yards. One of his primary receivers is 6-4, 185-pound junior Logan Cox.
PSHS was outgained in total yardage by University, 332-149. But the Patriot defense was ever-opportunistic, picking off two passes, blocking a punt, and stopping the Hawks on three fourth-downs situations.
The South secondary is expected to be tested often as Warren does like to throw the football. Against Jackson, Warrior signal caller Dylan Leffingwell, a 6-2, 210-pound junior, completed 15 of 37 passes for 254 yards and two touchdowns of 20 and 80 yards to Jeremy Fivecoait. He also had three of this throws intercepted.
Fivecoait, a 6-3, 210-pound senior, finished with five receptions for 150 yards. Jeremy Hastie, a 5-9, 155-pound senior, added five catches for 72 yards.
While Warren could be considered pass-oriented, it can and will run the football. Josh Mays, a 5-8, 185-pound senior, has rushed for over 100 yards twice in games (against Marietta and Portsmouth) this fall.
"With the shorter week because of our Saturday game this past week, we have to work very hard to prepare," Schob said. "But our team has demonstrated a great ability to do what we ask them to do."
Last season at Vincent, Warren edged Parkersburg South in a nail-biter, 14-13. The year before, the Warriors won 31-28. So, will Friday night's game be any different?
"Every year this game is extremely competitive," Schob said, "and comes down to the end. "The atmosphere is awesome with great crowds from both schools and communities."