A lot more will be at stake than just Washington County big school bragging rights when Warren hosts Marietta in a prep football game at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
The winner of the scheduled first annual United Way of Washington County Bowl Game will be the recipient of a traveling, school engraved trophy, which will be kept by the victor each year.
At Friday's contest, the United Way will begin its fundraising campaign with the assistance of both Warren and Marietta student council members.
Times file photo
Warren defensive line coach Al Riffey, left, emphasizes a point during a Warriors practice session.
Times file photo
Marietta High’s Quinton Coffield, left, collects a punt, surrounded by John Marshall players during a scrimmage at Don Drumm Stadium.
Meanwhile, there's the "backyard brawl" itself.
Marietta (1-0) is coming off a dramatic 41-35 come-from-behind, season-opening win at Morgan last Friday night. The Tigers trailed 28-14 at the half and 35-20 early in the fourth quarter.
With practically a whole period to catch up, Marietta did just that, scoring 21 unanswered points to claim the victory.
"Our guys showed a lot of heart in the second half last Friday, and we must build off that," said first-year Marietta head football coach Adam Eichhorn.
MHS was led by junior quarterback Anthony Kimbrough, who completed 14 of 32 passes for 237 yards and two fourth-quarter touchdowns of 29 and 12 yards to Quniton Coffield and Chance Wright, respectively. Wright's reception proved to be the game-winner.
Kimbrough also rushed for a team-high 46 yards and one TD of 16 yards. Garrett Davis also ran for two scores of 7 and 4 yards, and Coffield had a 19-yard run to paydirt.
"Coming off a win from Morgan is always a plus going into Week 2, especially a game against Warren," Eichhorn said. "This week isn't about going 2-0 to start the season. It's about getting better than we were last week. If we can accomplish that, good things will happen."
Last season at Don Drumm Stadium, Marietta fell 44-24, so along with bragging rights and a traveling trophy, payback may also be on the minds of the Tigers.
Two years ago at Warren, four players - two from each school - were ejected from the game during a Marietta win.
"Any contest, at any level, in any sport, involving Marietta versus Warren will add interest and intensity to the game," said third-year Warren head coach Andy Schob. "This rivalry is fun for the teams, schools, and communities. People from both sides play sports together, work together, go to church together, so bragging rights are at stake for the next year.
"Marietta has made some changes in their offense this season, and did a great job in an exciting win at Morgan last week. I'm sure they will come in confident with what they accomplished and feel they can do in the future. Anthony Kimbrough has improved tremendously at quarterback, and Chance Wright and Quinton Coffield are explosive game-changers."
While Marietta is 1-0 to start the season, Warren is 0-1, having dropped its 2012 lid-lifter to visiting Philo, 33-12. Early on, the Warriors led 6-0 on a Dylan Leffingwell to David Ryan 19-yard touchdown strike. But after that it was all Electrics as they scored 26 unanswered points to take a commanding lead.
Jake Scott, who recorded a team-high 59 yards gained on 15 attempts, had Warren's other end zone score, a two-yard run in the fourth quarter.
"We are obviously disappointed about losing last week," Schob said. "We knew we were playing a very good Philo team, and we were excited for that early challenge.
"We did not play well, had too many turnovers, and the game got away in the fourth quarter."
Warren also struggled in the trenches, but help is on the way as 6-foot-1, 235-pound Blake Staley, a two-way starter on the line, is expected back after sitting out the Philo game with an injury.
Leffingwell completed 12 of 21 throws for 178 yards and one TD. He also had one toss picked off. Andrew Vincent had six catches for 87 yards.
In last year's game against Marietta, Leffingwell torched the Tiger defensive secondary for 321 yards and four touchdowns.
But again, that was last season.
"Warren has changed things up a bit offensively from years prior," Eichhorn said. "They run a version of the Wing-T with a lot of misdirection. We have to be disciplined defensively in order to keep this from being a shootout.
"Offensively for us, the biggest challenge will be handling all the movement and blitzing that Warren does. We have seen a lot of the three-man fronts this preseason so that should help us prepare for Friday night."
Marietta's offensive coordinator, incidentally, is Jason Schob, the son of the Warren head coach.
"This is certainly a unique situation coaching against my son Jason," the elder Schob said. "This is the first time we have not been on the same side of any contest.
"We have a great relationship, and I am happy for his opportunity, and proud of the job he is doing. Once the game starts, we will compete just as our teams will."