If someone had said last Thursday that Marietta High quarterback Cody Westbrook would pass for no yardage, and the Tigers would still win, you'd probably be hard-pressed to believe it.
But that's exactly what occurred in Marietta's season finale last Friday night at Memorial Field in Gallipolis. MHS somehow managed to overcome the inclement weather to defeat the Gallia Academy Blue Devils, 14-6.
Going into that contest, the senior southpaw-throwing Westbrook had thrown for almost 2,300 yards. But in the game, he attempted only two tosses, both incompletions.
Of course, it's kind of hard to pass the ball when its soaking wet and caked in mud.
So, Marietta did what any good football team would do: It stuck to the ground.
When the Andy Schob-coached Tigers were on offense, Westbrook mostly just handed the ball off to running backs' Perry Wheeler, Conner Hess, and Lance Weppler.
Wheeler, who was 32 yards shy of 1,000 yards rushing going into the game, scored both of Marietta's touchdowns on runs of 30 and 14 yards. The talented junior also cracked the 1,000-yard milestone for a season.
Wheeler finished with 20 touchdowns on the season.
Next year, with Wheeler, Weppler, and Hess all back, MHS figures to be a run-oriented team. With that kind of talent in the backfield, the Tigers probably won't need to air it out, like Westbrook was very capable of doing during his varsity career.
As to who will be filling the big shoes of Westbrook at QB, that's a good question. If you look at the 2008 Tiger roster, some of the candidates could be Matt McKitrick, Justin Futrell, Kyle Lucas, or Adam Arnold.
We'll just have to wait and see how things shake out.
Marietta will also have to replace some of its receiving corps with Sean Munfield and Zane Eschbaugh both graduating. Each of them had over 1,000 receiving yards for a career.
Wide receiver Billy Grizer will be back, and that's a plus.
On defense, Marietta will miss Garrett Kerr and Stratton Johnson to name a couple of people. But some of the returnees figure to be Wheeler, Weppler, Hess, and Ryan Offenberger.
MHS will also need someone to handle the kicking chores with punter Munfield and place-kicker Eschbaugh both gone. Against Portsmouth, Eschbaugh booted a school record-tying 52-yard field goal.
Overall, Marietta had a good season in 2008 under first-year head coach Schob. Playing one of the toughest schedules in the state, the Tigers were 4-6 overall and 3-3 in the Southeastern Ohio Athletic League.
MHS got off to a slow start, losing its first three games on the road against some pretty tough competition. Bouncing back, the Tigers won four of their last seven games, including their final two against Portsmouth and Gallia Academy.
It's still hard to believe that Westbrook didn't complete a pass in his final varsity football game, but under the circumstances, it's understandable.
The question now, has Westbrook attempted his last forward pass? He is after all an all-state high jumper.
We'll just have to wait and see.
Ron Johnston is the Marietta Times sports editor and can be reached at 376-5441, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.