Anytime Warren and Marietta get together in any sport you can expect a tough, spirited, and sometimes physical battle.
Fans of both teams got exactly that Thursday night on the pitch as the Tigers defeated the Warriors 1-0 at Don Drumm Stadium.
Brent Huck's long goal with seven minutes left in the first half proved to be all the offense the Tigers would need in a game that could best be described as a defensive struggle.
MIKE?MORRISON The Marietta Times
Warren’s Nick Robinson (4) tries to dribble by Marietta’s Jacob Holdren (8) during prep boys soccer action at Don Drumm Stadium Thursday night. MHS won 1-0.
"I can't say enough about our effort tonight, especially defensively," said Tiger head coach Todd Morris. "Eric Pierce at goal and Owen LaBarre, Andrew Roberts, Holden Weihl, and Tanner Rake all were very solid defensively."
Warren would be the aggressor early on as time and time again they would move the ball deep into Tiger territory, but each time the defense rose to the occasion.
The royal blue and white took six shots on goal in the opening half compared to just three for Marietta and also attempted six corner kicks compared to zero for the Tigers.
Marietta 1 Warren 0
at Don Drumm Stadium
Warren 0 0 - 0
Marietta 1 0 - 1
M: Brent Huck 13th minute
SHOTS ON GOAL: Warren 13, Marietta 9
PENALTIES: Warren 3, Marietta 8
CORNER KICKS: Warren 10, Marietta 4
KEEPER SAVES: Warren 5, Marietta 7
With 7:30 to play in the first half, Huck drilled the goal that would prove to be the game winner.
After taking possession just inside Warren territory, Huck found himself with clearance and let fly a kick that sailed some 40 yards just over the outstretched hands of Warren goalie Cody Stanley.
"Their (Warren) defense was setting back and they gave me time so I decided to hit it," said Huck. "It just got over the goalie and turned out to be a big goal."
Morris has been trying to get the strong legged Huck to take a few more shots from long range.
"Brent's got the leg," said the Tiger head coach. "We've been challenging Brent and some of the others to shoot from distance and make the keeper make a save. Brent got squared and hit it and you can't ask for a better goal."
Warren coach Andrew Johnson felt that his goal keeper did all he could do to prevent the game winning goal.
"It was just a great strike," said Johnson of Huck's winning goal. "I don't know of very many keepers in high school soccer that would save that."
As tough as both teams were defensively in the first half, they may have been even more so in the second.
The Tigers took six shots on goal in the second half with Stanley saving five of them, while Warren took seven more in the second half.
The Warriors would have a handful of opportunities late in the game to knot things up, but each time came up empty.
With 16:30 to play Nick Koch had a good look but his goal attempt sailed just over the goal post.
The Warriors failed to take advantage of a free kick with just over eight minutes to play when Alex Miller's shot was a little too high once again.
The last real chance for Warren came with under two minutes to go when Ty Kroner had a decent look but Pierce came up with his seventh keeper save of the game and the Tigers claimed their third victory of the young season.
Johnson felt that his team played well but credited the Tigers as well.
"Anytime you play Marietta it's going to be a tough game," said Johnson. "It was an evenly matched game. We just missed some opportunities and they got theirs."
Morris is quite pleased with the way his young Tigers are performing through the first four games.
"We're young and kind of learning as we go,' said Morris of his squad that started just three seniors. "To be four games in and only give up one goal is very impressive."
Warren fell to 3-1 with the loss, while the orange and black remain undefeated with a 3-0-1 record.
Morris felt the win would build even more confidence in his young team.
"That was a big win for us tonight," said Morris. "This year has a different feel to it so far."
Tiger senior Colin Jordan left the field on a stretcher after a collision in the second half with an apparent neck injury.
The Tigers will travel to Chillicothe on Saturday, while the Warriors return home Monday to host the Parkersburg Big Reds in a make-up game.