Marietta High and River View each is in a rut.
But one of these East Central Ohio League schools will be halting a three-game slide after a hookup on the gridiron at Don Drumm Stadium at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
The other, of course, will fall to 1-4 at the halfway point of the 2011 campaign.
MHS (1-3 overall, 0-0 in the ECOL) is 1-1 at Don Drumm with a season-opening 29-14 win against Morgan and a 44-24 setback to Warren. The Tigers then went on the road and dropped two straight to Parkersburg High (34-7) and Gallia Academy (31-8), respectively.
Marietta's game against visiting River View will be its ECOL opener. It's also the Tigers' homecoming.
"It is our homecoming game, and we will perform," said first-year MHS head football coach Bob Springer.
At Gallia Academy's Memorial Field last Friday night, MHS was down 18-0 before Tiger tailback Dedder Baker broke one for 57 yards and a score late in the second quarter.
Overall, though, it was a tough night offensively as Marietta managed just 105 total yards. Baker led the way, rushing for 82 yards on 12 carries.
"Mitchel Gearhart blocked his tail off for Baker," Springer said.
Springer also singled out Eddie Kimbrough for his line play on both sides of the ball.
In the air, MHS quarterbacks' Justin Futrell and Anthony Kimbrough combined to have three of their passes picked off.
"It was our worst game offensively," Springer said. "We were constantly either digging ourselves out of a deep hole or trying to correct an offensive mistake."
Austin Gaskins had five punts for a 36-yard average.
Defensively, the Tigers struggled as well as the Blue Devils (3-1) amassed almost 300 yards of total offense. The second half was better, though, as the orange and black limited the home team to one TD.
"The second half was a different story for the defense as the Tigers really stepped up their game," Springer said.
Gearhart and Baker led the defense with a combined 20 tackles and 22 assists. Spencer Frum finished with five tackles and two assists, and Tanner Leach and Nick Spurr were also big hitters.
Marietta, outpointed a combined 65-15 on the road, is hoping its return to Don Drumm, where it's averaging 26.5 points a game this season, is more offensively productive.
The Tigers are hoping to get more stops on defense as well.
Meanwhile, at Warsaw's Don Rushing Stadium - the home gridiron of River View - last Friday night, the Black Bears (1-3, 0-1) suffered a fate similar to Marietta, dropping a 35-7 decision to undefeated Claymont (4-0) of Uhrichsville. Granted, the Mustangs were ranked second in Ohio Division III, Region 11 going into the game. So, the Black Bears definitely had their work cut out for themselves.
River View is coming into Don Drumm, believing it can win (so is Marietta). But the Black Bears will need to be more efficient offensively to accomplish their goal and spoiling the Tigers' homecoming in the process.
Since beating West Muskingum 47-24 in its season opener, River View has been outpointed by the combined total of 131-14 in its last three games to West Holmes (41-7), Cambridge (55-0) and Claymont, respectively.
Against Claymont, junior Clay Holsclaw had River View's lone touchdown, a 74-yard dash to paydirt in the third quarter. The Black Bears actually outgained the Mustangs 140-16 in that period.
Jason Hammond, a senior, is expected to take center snaps for River View. He also does the Black Bears' place-kicking.
"River View is a big, physical team," Springer said. "They run a 3-5 stunting defense and ofensively they run multiple sets."