DEVOLA - Marietta High is scheduled to host Warren in a boys' soccer match at the Devola Soccer Complex at 7 p.m. Sept. 6.
It'll be the Tigers' fourth match of the season and a non-conference one to boot.
Still, Todd Morris is looking forward to this big school Washington County showdown on the pitch.
"This season has a different feel to it," said the fifth-year MHS boys' head coach. "It's a cliche, but we are no longer the hunted. We are now the hunter."
Maybe in Washington County, but not in the East Central Ohio League, which Marietta won in its first season as a member in 2011. In the ECOL this fall, MHS figures to be the team to beat.
But against Andrew Johnson-coached Warren, well, Morris may have a point. Maybe MHS is the hunter at this point in time in the series.
If this is true, it's a reversal of roles, because Marietta has pretty much dominated the Warren booters for so many seasons. But last year, the Tigers did not defeat the Warriors on the pitch, tying them 2-2 in Vincent and then dropping a 3-2 decision to the royal blue and white in Devola.
Getting beat by Warren on its home turf was particularly galling, because twice in the match, Marietta had a goal advantage - and the Warriors to their credit just kept battling.
Marietta likes to pride itself on taking care of business at home, and the loss to Warren snapped a 16-game winning streak at the Devola Soccer Complex dating back to 2010.
MHS was able to bounce back and finished the season with a solid 11-4-2 overall record.
Meanwhile, over in Vincent, Warren rolled to win the Southeastern Ohio Athletic League championship, a sectional title, and then a district crown before bowing out 3-0 in the "Sweet 16" to Columbus St. Francis DeSales in a regional semi at Logan High in early November.
The Warriors finished with a sterling 16-2-3 overall mark.
Morris tips his hat to them.
"Warren had a great season last year and is the reigning district champion," Morris said. "They have what we want. They are where we want to be. We've been there. We know what it's like and we want that again."
Obviously, so do the Warriors.
It'll also be a challenge for both schools.
Warren took a big graduation hit this past spring with 13 players on its 2011 roster getting their diplomas. That's a lot. But according to Johnson, the youthful Warriors should be competitive when they kick off the 2012 campaign. After all, they've still got a few returning veterans and good ones in Nick Koch - the SEOAL Player of the Year - Aaron Mazurkiewicz and Evan Yabs.
As for Marietta, it too figures to be good again this season but how good, that remains to be seen.
"The upperclassmen know the work and dedication, and quite frankly luck that has to go into winning a district title, and they are going to set the tone for the season," Morris said.
That's what upperclassmen do - whether they are the hunted or the hunter.
Ron Johnston is the Marietta Times sports editor and can be reached at 376-5441 or at firstname.lastname@example.org