Andy Schob isn't buying that Jackson is going through a down season.
In fact, the third-year Warren head football coach is expecting the host Ironmen to be a real handful for his Warriors in a Southeastern Ohio Athletic League opener at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
"Jackson is the two-time defending league champions," said Schob whose Warriors own a 2-3 overall record. "We are playing on their home field, where they do not lose often, to start league play."
KAREN HENTHORN Special to The Times
Talk about giving a team a lift. Warren’s Chas Miller (4) makes a spectacular tackle of a Meigs ballcarrier during prep football action in Pomeroy last Friday night. The Warriors are hoping to see more of this when they play defending two-time Southeastern Ohio Athletic League champion Jackson this Friday night.
But there's no question, Andy Hall-coached Jackson (2-3) can be beat. After winning their first two games of the 2012 campaign against Wellston (34-13) and Waverly (28-7), respectively, the Ironmen have gone into a little tailspin, dropping three consecutive contests.
"They have lost three games to really good football teams, Granville (28-14), Athens (21-14), and Wheelersburg (40-14)," Schob said. "They were also missing their starting quarterback, (Derek) Rafferty, and their best running back and linebacker, (Morgan) Landrum, for much of those games.
"They had younger players getting adjusted against caliber teams. I would expect them to be at full strength this week and focused to attempt to defend their league titles."
Against Wheelersburg, senior Steven Kearns (6-foot, 180 pounds) filled in for Rafferty at QB, and senior Mitchell McCorkle (5-10, 165)and freshman Jake Crabtree 6-3, 180) were the workhorses in the backfield with the former rushing for 42 yards on 14 carries and the latter gaining 26 yards on six attempts.
"Jackson can line up in double tight and pound the football with their bigger players and also spread you out in spread sets and move the ball around to quality athletes," Schob said. "Their defense is aggressive and flies to the football."
Schob said that since he's been at the helm he's never guided a team to a win against Jackson. Last year, the Warriors dropped a 42-17 decision to the red and white gridders in Vincent.
"Coach Hall has built a quality program in a place with great tradition," the Warrior boss continued. "As a head coach, I have a win against every team in the league, except one, Jackson. I would love to change that with our team Friday."
Warren halted a two-game slide last Friday night with a convincing 57-12 triumph over Meigs (1-4) in Pomeroy. The Warriors led 21-0 at the end of the first quarter and 35-6 at the break.
After a scoreless third period, the royal blue and white scored 22 fourth-quarter points to win going away.
"Our team and kids came out with a different attitude and excitement," Schob said. "We took a different approach to the game with them and they really responded."
Warren's Austin Kuhn rushed for 127 yards on nine carries and two touchdowns while Andrew Vincent had three catches for 107 yards and two scores.
Chas Miller added 63 yards on the ground, and Jake Scott gained 55.
Warrior signal caller Dylan Leffingwell completed 5-of-7 throws for 117 yards and two TDs.
Overall, Warren was clicking on all cylinders on both sides of the football
"They played at a high level and had fun together all night long," Schob said. "We will look to build on that excitement the second half of the season and in league play."