Marietta High will have a numerical advantage when it plays at Zanesville Bishop Rosecrans in an East Central Ohio League football game at 7:30 p.m. this Friday.
But that won't necessarily make the Ohio Division II Tigers (2-5 overall, 1-2 ECOL) the favorite to win the contest.
The Scott Moyer-coached Bishops, who have 21 players listed on their roster, are good, and actually own a better overall record (4-3) than MHS. They're also battling for a postseason playoff spot with a current No. 8 ranking in Division VI, Region 23.
Last Friday night, Rosecrans dropped a 31-21 decision to the Claymount Mustangs in Uhrichsville.
So a win over Marietta is a must.
"Rosecrans has a lot of big kids who look like athletes but just not many of them," said first-year Marietta head coach Bob Springer. "He (Moyer) plays 15 kids, and they played Claymont tough."
Indeed, Rosecrans was very competitive, staking itself to a 6-0 lead on 6-foot-3, 225-pound senior quarterback Zack Hill's 13-yard touchdown pass to 6-1, 170-pound senior Jared Dalton.
But after that, the Bishops were unable to answer 24 consecutive points by Claymont, and trailed by 18 at the half.
After the break, Rosecrans outpointed Claymont 15-7 but it was too little, too late. Luke Lloyd, a 5-9, 165-pound junior, scored both of the Bishops' TDs, one on a 13-yard run in the third quarter and the other on a one-yard plunge in the final period.
Jonathan MacLean does the extra point kicks for Rosecrans.
Lloyd finished the game with 154 yards rushing on 28 carries.
Hill completed seven-of-15 throws for 102 yards.
"They run a power-I formation backfield just like New Philadelphia and Cambridge," Springer said. "They have a very good running back in the Lloyd kid.
"They run a lot of ISO ball and counter trap. They have been throwing 15 times per game with a 50 percent completion ratio."
Defensively, Springer is expecting the Bishops to be in a 5-3 alignment.
"They have good size," the Marietta coach said, "and they have some good athletes."
So does Marietta.
Since beating River View 14-9 in its homecoming game at Don Drumm Stadium on Sept. 23, the Tigers have fallen on hard times on the road, losing to Cambridge 51-14 and to New Philly 44-7, respectively. The Bobcats and Quakers each had a marquee running back, and it appears that the Bishops may have one, too, in Lloyd.
Marietta has one also in Dedder Baker. The 5-foot-11 senior tailback is approaching 700 yards rushing on the season, and is on pace to reach 1,000 at the conclusion.
Baker actually has been a standout of both sides of the football. He, fullback Mitchel Gearhart and quarterback Justin Futrell have been the Tiger team leaders all season long.
Springer also singled out for praise Tiger players like Matt Morris, Quinton Coffield, Tanner Leach, Michael Stewart, Austin Gaskins and Jon Hedrick, who may have suffered an ankle break in the New Philly game.
After the Rosecrans game, Marietta will finish the season at the friendly confines of Don Drumm Stadium, hosting Dover on Oct. 21 and the Zanesville Blue Devils the following week.