Updated Wed, Oct 16, 2013 7:35 pm
On Friday night, when the lights are shining bright and two teams meet each other on the gridiron, one question will be answered. Which team is a legitimate threat in the TVC-Ohio and is ready to make a run at the top? It will either be the Meigs Marauders or the Wellston Golden Rockets.
Riding a three-game win streak is the Marauders—who have scored 43+ points in each game during that stretch—which ties their win total from the 2012 season.
“We just want to get better every week. We strive and practice hard to get better, and we’ve been fortunate enough to be pretty consistent,” Meigs head coach Mike Bartrum said. “It’s only been a year, but the kids are improving.”
The Golden Rockets find themselves in a similar situation with a 3-4 (1-1) record this season after only winning four games last year. But Wellston hasn’t been so consistent. Since starting the season with two losses, they have bounced back-and-forth between the win and loss columns each week.
So can the Golden Rockets get over the hump and win two games in a row? That will depend on whether or not their offense can challenge Meigs’ defense. Excluding Week One versus Coal Grove, the Marauders defense has allowed 20 or less points in every game. On the other side of the ball, Wellston’s game-high point total is 21, which they scored in a loss to South Point.
“Against the run we’ve been pretty fortunate—we’ve been pretty stout upfront,” Bartrum said. “Our kids have done a great job of getting penetration when they have to and staying in their lanes.”
But the Marauders will admit that there is a weakness in the secondary.
“The pass has really hurt us, and Wellston has a pretty good passing attack from everything I’ve seen on film,” Bartrum said. “We’re going to have to be ready for that, and we have to be able to defend the pass.”
The Golden Rockets will face the challenge of defending Meigs’ passing attack, but from two different quarterbacks. Kalieb Sheets is the starting quarterback for the Marauders, but Bartrum’s son, Cody, has been seeing some playing time under the helm in the past few games, resulting in a dual-quarterback system for Meigs. Coach Bartrum had reservations in making the move—describing Sheets as the more athletic of the two, and Cody as a good passing quarterback—but was eventually convinced to make the move.
“The coaches have been on me since day one about trying Cody in there, but every kid needs to earn their spot. I don’t care what their last name is,” Bartrum said. “He was making plays on special teams, so I said we would give it a try. It’s nice to have two quarterbacks and a double threat.”
And the Marauders’ offense has been money all season, averaging 37 points per game.
“There’s just so many kids who are making plays and they have confidence in each other,” Bartrum said. “That’s what it takes—to be able to execute is huge, especially in the scheme that we do, running multi-sets.”
Despite being on the short end of last year’s 34-29 game against Wellston, Coach Bartrum said that Meigs will take the field with confidence.
“They got us last year—we remember that,” he said. “We want to go into it open-minded, with hard work, dedication, and get ready to go over there and play football on Friday.”