If playing at home is considered an advantage, then Marietta High's football team is in good shape.
The Adam Eichhorn-coached Tigers are scheduled to play their next three East Central Ohio League games at Don Drumm Stadium before closing out the 2012 campaign with two contests on the road.
At 7 p.m. Friday, MHS, 1-4 overall and 0-1 in the ECOL) will be hosting Cambridge High, an Ohio Division 3, Region 11 school.
JULIE AMES Special to The Times
Marietta High’s Spencer Frum (41) makes a nice tackle of a River View ballcarrier during East Central Ohio League football action in Warsaw last Friday night. The Tigers dropped a 19-14 decision. MHS is hoping to bounce back against visiting Cambridge in another ECOL football game this Friday night.
"This week we focused a lot on getting back to playing as a team," Eichhorn said. "Anytime you go through a tough stretch, it mentally takes a lot out of everyone. Our guys have elevated their energy and intensity at practice to create a Friday night atmosphere. Now we have to replicate that day in and day out."
Last Friday night, Marietta suffered its fourth consecutive setback when it dropped a 19-14 decision to River View in Warsaw. During the contest, the Tigers led twice, 7-6 at the end of the first quarter and 14-13 late in the fourth stanza.
If the MHS goal-line defense had gotten one more stop on a fourth-and-two, the orange and black probably would have emerged as the victor in the contest. But as it was, River View's Clay Holsclaw scored on a two-yard run to give the Black Bears a 19-14 advantage with 1:54 remaining on the game clock.
It's been kind of a season of "what ifs" for Marietta. The Tigers led Warren 7-6 at the half but struggled after the break and ended up losing 35-7.
MHS rallied late against visiting Parkersburg High but came up short, 26-21.
Only Gallia Academy in Week 4 truly had Marietta's number the entire game, rolling to a 63-13 triumph.
Then, Marietta almost beat River View. Almost.
For the Tigers, quarterback Anthony Kimbrough and running back Quinton Coffield each scored a touchdown of one and 62 yards, respectively. Brent Huck converted two PATs.
Last year, Marietta fell 51-14 at Cambridge, which finished with an 8-2 overall record (4-1 ECOL) under Rick Goodrich.
So far this fall, the Bobcats - who are now guided by first-year boss Kevin Gunn - own a 3-2 mark (1-1 ECOL) and are No. 7 in the unofficial rankings in their region (11). Only the top eight advance to postseason play.
"Looking at Cambridge, they are definitely starting to hit their stride," Eichhorn said. "They feature a good young quarterback that is capable of making plays through the air or on the ground.
"This week, just like all others, we have to play assignment football and eliminate the mental mistakes. Our mindset is that our guys will prepare like a 5-0 team and we will coach them like they are 5-0."
Last Friday night, Cambridge drilled Sheridan, 40-20. Sheridan (4-1) had been undefeated going into the contest.
Sophomore Caleb Tingle is expected to take center snaps for the Bobcats. A couple of CHS running backs to keep an eye on will be Trevor Hardesty and Dillon Sunnafrank, and three of the wide-outs will be Sawyer Leppla, JD Demkowicz, and Devon Francis.
Cambridge's base defense has been a 4-2-5 alignment.
After Cambridge, Marietta will be entertaining New Philadelphia (Oct. 5) and Bishop Rosecrans (Oct. 12).
"We can't beat ourselves up over the first half of the season," Eichhorn said. "The bottom line is, we still have five games left and a chance to win the ECOL."