Marietta dominant in grid opener
McCONNELSVILLE — Nearly everything went Marietta’s way in a season-opening 41-0 victory over Morgan Friday night.
The Tigers were sharp on offense, on the ground and in the air, and the defense pitched a shutout as the Tigers ran away with the victory.
“It’s a good start,” said Marietta head coach Jason Schob. “When you win 41-0, obviously, you’re feeling happy.”
There was a lot to feel happy about for the orange and black, especially early. The Tigers jumped out to a 21-0 lead in the first quarter.
After forcing a fumble on the opening kickoff, Marietta scored in three plays on a 14-yard touchdown pass from Corbin Alkire to Tony Munos. Munos also scored the Tigers’ second touchdown later in the quarter, rushing into the end zone from 49 yards out at the 5:19 mark.
The Tigers capped the first period with a 25-yard TD strike from Alkire to Daniel Long. Long, who filled in at linebacker for the injured Charlie Howell, also had a big game defensively with two sacks and a forced fumble.
“He actually just got moved there maybe two weeks ago,” Schob said of Long. “He did a good job for his first real experience there.”
Alkire scored on a 9-yard run with 7:58 left in the second quarter before Long’s strip-sack of Morgan QB Lucas Waters’ set up Marietta’s next touchdown, a 5-yard run by Kory Science. Science, who also scored from 2 yards out with 9:35 left in the third, led MHS with 77 yards on 11 carries.
Marietta had 255 yards on 38 carries, with Munos (4-63), Alkire (7-33) and Chase Taylor (7-34) also getting plenty of touches.
“Whoever has the hot hand, we’re going to go with,” Schob said of his backfield. “We were fortunate enough to have several guys run the ball and catch the ball. I think it’s good for team chemistry when you have that many guys touching the ball.”
MHS kicker Sean Fournier was 5 for 6 on extra-point kicks.
On defense, Marietta limited the Raiders to 174 total yards. Morgan running back Wes Pauley had 139 of those yards on 28 carries. Waters threw for 31 yards but was picked off by Cyrus Rhodes.
“The defense has been pretty impressive during the first two scrimmages and during the offseason, too,” Schob said. “I was hoping it would carry over, and it did. I was pretty pleased with the defensive effort.”
The Tigers didn’t pass often, but were effective when they did. Alkire was 4 for 6 for 60 yards and two touchdowns. With the ground game going strong, there wasn’t much of a need to pass.
“We have enough athletes to counter whatever the defense is doing,” Schob said.
Schob, who improved to 5-0 against Morgan as Marietta’s head coach, had high praise for his offensive line, which returned just one starter from last year.
“The first drive of the second half, we were hoping with our young line to just run the ball,” he said. “They did a good job and drove the ball down the field and scored.”
Next week, Schob and the Tigers visit rival Warren for a 7 p.m. kickoff Friday, while Chase Bowman looks for his first coaching victory at 7 p.m. Friday at Tri-Valley.
“We had some penalties we need to work on,” Schob said. “You’re going to have those things early in the season. We’ll try to fine tune those things and start watching Warren (film) this weekend.”