Wheeler and Hess.
It almost rolls off the tongue like a rock duo, doesn't it?
Well, listen up, because Perry Wheeler and Conner Hess are both planning on doing some heavy metal running for the Marietta Tigers' football team this upcoming season.
And, if both if these orange and black backs can record some smash hits -literally - in the mosh pit of a gridiron, MHS could be surging to the top of the Southeastern Ohio Athletic League football chart.
"We'll be more of a running team this year," said second-year Marietta High head coach Andy Schob. "But I think we'll get to the point where we can definitely pass if we need to and if we want to. We'll take whatever the other team gives us."
Last year, MHS was in the spread, and had a nice balanced attack on offense. Southpaw Cody Westbrook, who will be attending The Ohio State University to continue his education and to high jump on the Buckeyes track and field team, threw for over 2,300 yards and 14 touchdown passes, while Wheeler rushed for over 1,000 yards, and scored 19 touchdowns.
With Westbrook gone, Marietta will have a new signal caller this upcoming season. Right now, the leading candidates are Lance Weppler and Morgan Wynn.
Whoever the Tiger quarterback will be, he knows that he'll always be able to rely on Wheeler and Hess in the backfield.
"I think people are going to be surprised when they see Perry this year," Schob said. "He was good last year, but he can be even better this year."
In 2008, the 5-foot-11, 195-pound Wheeler became just the 10th running back in Marietta High football history to rush for 1,000-plus yards. This fall, if he picks up where he left off, he could become the first two-time 1,000-yard back at the school.
"Perry's been kind of under the radar," Schob said. "He doesn't have the blazing speed, but he's just solid in everything he does. He's been working really hard on his quickness and in the weight room in the offseason.
Last year, Perry rushed for 241 yards and four touchdowns in a 42-28 Marietta triumph over Parkersburg South at Don Drumm Stadium.
"He's really hard to bring down," Schob said. "He can run you over or around you. He's decisive and doesn't hesitate."
Obviously, Wheeler also has a nose for the goal line, and in short yardage situations inside the 5, just try to stop him if you can.
And, if Hess is the lead blocker out of the backfield, Wheeler just may score untouched.
Hess himself probably won't get the touches that Wheeler gets, but he too will present problems for an opponent's defense, especially since he's 6-3, 250 pounds.
"As Conner developed, he had two 70-plus-yard games running the ball for us late in the season last year," Schob said. "He's one of our fastest kids, too, and that combination of size and speed...well, he'll definitely clear some holes for Perry, and also run the ball and give us some yards up the middle.
"We'll actually still be staying in the spread," the coach continued. "But it's a spread a little bit like what West Virginia University runs, where they run the ball."
With Wheeler and Hess rockin' and rollin' inside and outside on the gridiron this fall, that could just be music to Schob and the Tigers' ears.
Ron Johnston is the Marietta Times sports editor and can be reach at 376-5441, or at firstname.lastname@example.org