Wilmington High School football coach Scott Killen says his Hurricane “know absolutely nothing about Marietta or the teams they have played.”
“They have only played two teams from Ohio and all other teams have been from West Virginia,” he said. “It’s hard to get a read on them based on the information we have.”
The Hurricane (2-3) and Tigers (2-4) will square off 7 p.m. Friday at Alumni Field in the opening round of the Region 11 playoffs. WHS was the 16th seed while MHS was the 17th seed. The winner plays at No. 1 seed Columbus St. Francis DeSales 7 p.m. Oct. 16.
The two other teams in the lower part of the WHS bracket are No. 8 Granville and No. 9 Columbus Eastmoor Academy.
But first things first, the Marietta Tigers.
“Offensively, Marietta is a balanced football team,” Killen said. “Their QB doesn’t make too many mistakes. Their running back is a load and they have a wide receiver that is probably the best wide out we have seen all year. Defensively, they play a 3-4 and they sit back and wait for you to make a mistake.”
Reece Gerber is 84-146 passing for 1,279 yards and 8 touchdowns. He has 9 interceptions.
Zach Bartlett is the top runner, gaining 577 yards with six touchdowns.
Tony Munos is the top wide receiver with 34 catches for 614 yards and five touchdowns. Munos has 10 touchdowns in all this season.
Killen said the Hurricane will start Cameron McEvoy at quarterback in place of Peyton Hibbard.
“They both will take the same amount of reps they have been getting in practice but Cam will start the game and we will see how it goes and keep evaluating both quarterbacks,” Killen said.
The Hurricane closed out the first six games of the season with a 56-21 loss to Clinton-Massie. The Hurricane played the Falcons tough for most of the night, trailing just 28-21 in the fourth quarter. Then Massie scored 28 straight points for the blowout on the scoreboard.
Wilmington was 0-10 on third downs on offense and 0-5. Conversely the Massie offense was 7-11 on third downs and 1-1 on fourth down plays.
“We have breakdowns that put us in difficult third down situations,” said Killen. “Those breakdowns vary in wrong reads, penalties and assignment breakdowns. We talk to the kids about being mature enough to understand the situation and be able to focus on the crucial downs. We will just keep practicing and getting better at it.
”We discussed the importance of the small details we practice every week and how important they are. The small details matter and is the difference in execution during important moments of the game, especially on third down.“
NOT THE FIRST: Believe it or not, this won’t be the first meeting between Wilmington and Marietta in a high school event. The two schools met in boys basketball during the 1912-13 season with Marietta coming out on top 51-15.
PIERSON LEGEND: Fred Pierson was a former Wilmington High School standout athlete who was an outstanding coach at Marietta High School.
Pierson played football for a three years at WHS, earning All-South Central Ohio League honors. He also played basketball at WHS and was All-SCOL as well as a member of the all-sectional tournament team in 1925-26. He was a second team all-Ohio player for Wilmington College in 1929.
During his coaching career, Pierson had great success at New Boston, Tiltonville, Washington Senior and Marietta high schools. He won a Class B baseball state championship with Tiltonville in 1932. At Marietta he won the school’s first Central Ohio League championship in 17 years when he led the team to the title in 1953.
He died at the age of 46 in 1956.
JUST IN TIME FOR HALLOWEEN: This matchup is a few weeks short of Halloween but the time of year is appropriate as both teams wear orange and black.
LEAGUE WOES: Marietta is listed as a member of the East Central Ohio League. After teams leaving the league in recent years, there are five current members but two of those are leaving in the next two years.
As recently as 2016, there were 10 teams in the league.
And we thought it was bad with the SCOL.
Reach Mark Huber at 937-556-5765, via email firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @wnjsports