Marietta High and Warren each featured a high-scoring offense in its season openers.
What will probably determine a winner, though, when the two Washington County big schools square off at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Don Drumm Stadium, is how well each plays on the defensive side of the ball.
"Warren has the ability to be a balanced offense in terms of being able to throw and run the ball," said second-year MHS head football coach Adam Eichhorn, whose Tigers (1-0) defeated visiting Morgan 41-28 in their lid-lifter last Friday night. "Obviously, that means we must be very disciplined on defense in terms of reading our keys and not letting their backs get into space."
Warren wide receiver Andrew Henthorn (2) makes a catch in traffic against the Parkersburg Big Reds at Don Drumm Stadium last Saturday night.
RON JOHNSTON The Marietta Times
Some of Marietta High’s players get ready to take the field to play Morgan at Don Drumm Stadium last Friday night.
Eichhorn is expecting Warren to be very active on D.
"Defensively, they are going to bring a lot of pressure from a lot of different places," the Tigers' coach said. "We need a lot of communication and focus from our offensive line this week to pick up their blitzes."
The Warriors (0-1) also put 40 points on the Don Drumm Stadium scoreboard Saturday night but suffered a 51-40 setback to the Parkersburg Big Reds (1-0).
(series since 1991)
2012 Warren 35, MHS 7
2011 Warren 44, MHS 24
2010 MHS 33, Warren 28
2009 Warren 35, MHS 19
2008 MHS 26, Warren 21
2007 MHS 40, Warren 7
2006 MHS 21, Warren 0
2005 MHS 36, Warren 6
2004 MHS 35, Warren 14
2003 MHS 44, Warren 42
2002 MHS 56, Warren 20
2001 Warren 21 MHS 13
2000 Warren 34, MHS 0
1999 Warren 14, MHS 7
1998 Warren 27, MHS 10
1997 Warren 16, MHS 0
1996 Warren 47, MHS 7
1995 Warren 43, MHS 19
1994 Warren 29, MHS 7
1993 Warren 14, MHS 3
1992 Warren 21, MHS 20
1991 MHS 17, Warren 6
"We will have to play fundamental team defense and tackle well to prevent big plays and make them try to sustain drives," said fourth-year Warren boss Andy Schob.
Even with good defense, though, a shootout still may be on tap in this arch-rivalry game as each school has a plethora of weapons and ways of scoring.
Marietta, which never trailed Morgan (0-1), had three players score two touchdowns apiece - Quinton Coffield, Austin Jones, and Chance Wright. And, sophomore quarterback John Henry completed 4-of-8 passes for 125 yards and two touchdowns - all in the opening half.
Jones finished with 123 rushing yards and two short touchdown runs, while Coffield had 84 yards on the ground. Coffield also caught a 68-yard TD pass from Henry, and ran back a punt 42 yards for a score. Wright had both a rushing TD and a pass reception for a score.
"Marietta has some exceptional athletes that individually can cause us problems," said Andy Schob, who was the Tigers' head coach for two years in 2008-09 before departing for Warren. "Coffield is a threat to score every time he touches the ball. Jones, (Garrett) Davis, and Wright run hard. (Matt) Morris is a big TE (6-foot-4, 256 pounds), and both (Anthony) Kimbrough and Henry are dual threats at QB. Jason (Schob) has done a great job putting a scheme together that highlights their strengths."
Kimbrough was not available for duty against the Raiders, but is expected back against the Warriors.
"Kimbrough will be in the mix competing with Henry for snaps at QB," Eichhorn said. "Both of those guys are versatile enough that they can play a number of offensive and defensive positions."
Then, there are Connor Beavers and freshman Trent Dawson, who each took center snaps against Morgan. Dawson also had a second-half interception.
Against PHS, Warren never led but battled the entire way. The Warriors were led by senior signal caller Austin Klintworth, who ran for three touchdowns and completed 16 of 29 throws for 260 yards. He was also his team's leading ground gainer, rushing for 114 yards on 21 carries.
"Austin had an outstanding debut at QB, both passing and running the ball," Andy Schob said.
Klintworth's primary receiving targets were Andrew Henthorn and David Ryan, who combined for 13 receptions and 219 yards. Both Henthorn and Ryan also had a rushing TD.
Ryan also got the job done on defense with one pick and a fumble recovery.
Eichhorn, who was at the Warren-PHS contest, was impressed with the Warriors' attack, which amassed 413 total yards.
"Watching Warren versus PHS was a different Warrior team than we saw against Morgan (in an Aug. 23 scrimmage in McConnelsville)," he said. "They were much more disciplined and were able to put up a lot of points. They have a lot of size on the offensive line, so we are expecting a tough battle in the trenches."
Warren's problems obviously were on defense. While scoring 40 points will win a lot of games, giving up 51 is a recipe for disaster. The Warriors also allowed the Big Reds to amass 434 total yards.
"Parkersburg is a deeper team with more athletes than we have," Schob said. "When we made a mistake or missed a tackle, they made us pay with their speed.
"We had a 1:09 time period in the second half where Parkersburg scored three touchdowns and put us in a hole. While we certainly have many things still to work on, what I was very proud of with this team is how they continued to compete, play together, get maximum ability, and represent Warren with pride."
Marietta also had some things to work on in practice this week, especially on special teams. Against Morgan, the Tigers gave up two kickoff returns for touchdowns, and had two points after touchdowns blocked.
Eric Pierce, an MHS goalkeeper on the boys' soccer team, is expected to do the kicking for the Tigers, while Cole Wigal, who had two field goals of 20-plus yards against PHS, will be Warren's booter. Pierce is filling in for Brent Huck, who has mono.
In the all-time series, Warren has won two in a row and three of the last four.
Last year, the Warriors beat the Tigers, 35-7, in Vincent.
Anything is possible, though, in this "bragging rights" game, including a brawl. In 2010, four players, two from each side, were ejected during the contest, which Marietta won 33-28.