Marietta was ready to play football at Don Drumm Stadium Wednesday morning.
Senior tailback Dedder Baker took quarterback Justin Futrell's first handoff, started up the gut but then veered right to the sideline and outran the Athens' defenders to the end zone.
One play, one touchdown of about 50 yards.
"The blocking was there, the blocking was perfect," said the 5-foot-11, 190 pound Baker after the Tiger varsity topped the visiting Bulldogs three TDs to zero in an opening scrimmage for both schools.
"It was supposed to be right up the middle but I got stumped, so I just took it outside," continued Baker. "It was a foot race after that."
Helping to spring Baker free were MHS fullback Tanner Leach, strongside tackle Austin Gaskins and strongside guard Eddie Kimbrough.
"Dedder has the speed," said the 5-11, 290-pound Kimbrough. "That got us pumped up and we were hitting good.
"This scrimmage just gives us a good look and will help us get ready for our first game of the season against Morgan."
Later, on a similar offensive play, Baker ran 70 yards for a touchdown. If stats were official, the senior standout would have easily rushed for over 100 yards in the scrimmage.
"I scored untouched on that one," Baker said. "And that was probably better blocking.
"I thought our offense looked really good today, but we could pass the ball better, I think."
With Baker and 5-5, 155-pound senior Mitchel Gearhart churning up the yardage on the ground, Marietta really didn't have to think about throwing the football. But when the Tigers did air it out, they were effective.
The Tigers' second TD came on a long scoring strike from Futrell to Gearhart.
Futrell also had two passes intercepted by Athens defenders during the scrimmage. But, on defense, as a safety, he redeemed himself, picking off one throw by the Bulldogs' QB.
"Justin must work on progression; he was not picking up receivers," said MHS first-year head head coach Bob Springer. "We ran a limited amount of our offense. We'll do more against Ripley.
"I was pleased with the volume of scoring we did considering the small percentage of our offense we ran."
Overall, Marietta's 4-4 defense was occasionally stretched like a rubber band but didn't break. Athens never reached the end zone during the scrimmage.
"Our defense could use a little work on the fundamental stuff," said Baker, who played on both sides of the ball. "It's not like we're not doing the right thing. We just need more repetition at it. I feel like we can get better on defense."
Kimbrough, who also played on both sides, agreed and added, "We're getting there on defense. We just need to break to the ball more. I thought we had good reps on both offense and defense."
Marietta is scheduled to scrimmage at Ripley (W.Va.) at 10 a.m. Saturday and at John Marshall (W.Va.) at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 19. The Tigers are slated to kick of the season in earnest against visiting Morgan in a non-league game at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 26.
"We're not where we should be," Baker said. "But I guess that's what scrimmages are for."