Tigers score hefty win over ’Jackets

Ritchie County’s Brianna Jones, pictured here setting the ball earlier this season, will join her Rebel teammates at today’s second annual Carl Harnish Snowball Invitational. Photo by Jay W. Bennett.

MARIETTA — Marietta High football coach Jason Schob and his staff gameplanned all week to run the football early and often against Williamstown Friday at Don Drumm Stadium.

After all, the Yellowjackets allowed 360 yards to Hunter Partridge in a 45-30 loss to Magnolis last week. However, it didn’t take long in the contest for Schob to realize he’d have to shift gears.

“(Williamstown) ran Cover-1 and brought all their linebackers basically every play to try to stop the run,” said Schob, whose Tigers cruised to a 49-14 victory over the Yellowjackets. “We had to go vertical and work on our passing game a little bit. The receivers and quarterback stepped up and I thought that was a huge key to our victory.”

Standout running back Dominic Vanfossen was held to just four yards in the first half, but the Tigers (3-0) picked up the slack through the air as quarterback Corbin Alkire completed 12 of 24 pass attempts for 220 yards and three touchdowns — one apiece to Tanner Stack, Chase Taylor and Jermaine Burke.

Vanfossen got going in the second half, scoring two third quarter touchdowns and finishing with 60 yards on 14 carries.

“That was more of a game-time adjustment,” Schob said of the pass-heavy play-calling.

“I love how you prepare all week for something, and then you sometimes throw the gameplan out the window when the defense shows you something else. That’s part of coaching.”

Marietta’s defense bent but rarely broke against Williamstown’s offense, allowing just 14 points and forcing three turnovers, two on interceptions by linebacker Cory Warrener. Warrener’s second pick came in the end zone to halt Williamstown’s threat at the end of first half, preserving Marietta’s 28-7 lead into halftime. Defensive end Ben Lawson provided pressure on Yellowjackets QB Carter Haynes on the play.

“I can’t take credit for that,” Warrener said. “That’s Ben Lawson making a play right there. That’s good stuff.

“The coaches put all the players in good positions. I had two picks, but you can’t do that without pressure on the quarterback. Defense played great. We got turnovers when we needed it and the offense capitalized.”

After slow starts in the first two weeks, the Tigers came out strong against Williamstown. On their second drive, Alkire connected with Stack on a 72-yard touchdown pass. Stack finished with 112 yards on three catches.

“I played all last year with him on JV,” Stack said of his chemistry with Alkire. “Me and him have always had the best connection. He’s just really good at making plays and he trusts us.”

John Mannix kicked the ball down field for Marietta, but Devon Moss beat every Williamstown player to the ball to give the Tigers good field position. Chase Taylor began the drive with a 13-yard run, and later finished it with a 5-yard touchdown catch.

Williamstown answered with a Donathan Taylor 34-yard TD run late in the first quarter, but MHS scored 14 unanswered in the second on a 1-yard touchdown run by Alkire and a 39-yard passing TD from Alkire to Burke, who caught seven balls for 90 yards.

Through three games, Alkire and Marietta’s receivers have played well.

“We trust each other and we trust our quarterback,” Stack said. “He puts it in the right spot and we just try to make plays.”

Marietta took a 42-7 lead in the third quarter when Vanfossen scored on runs of 5 and 4 yards. Williamstown scored with 7:21 left in the game on Evan Amos’ 4-yard TD run, but Marietta answered on Kory Science’s 32-yard scoring rush to add the finishing touches.

Donathan Taylor led Williamstown with 94 yards on 13 carries, while Haynes added 72 on 11 totes. Williamstown totaled 264 yards but could only find the end zone twice.

“The defense played very well,” Schob praised. “The offense is getting a lot of publicity because we’re putting up some points, but I think our defense is pretty good, too. One of our coaches said this might’ve been one of the most well rounded games we’ve played in a while.”

MHS, which finished with 397 total yards, will look to start 4-0 Thursday when it visits St. Marys. Williamstown, which dropped to 1-2, will look to snap a two-game losing streak Friday at Wheeling Central.