VINCENT - There's both good and bad news in Warren football land.
The good is the Andy Schob-coached Warriors (1-1) are scheduled to play their 2013 home opener at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
And, the bad is...well, the royal blue and white's opponent will be undefeated Athens High (2-0).
Photo courtesy of Karen Lang-Henthorn
Warren’s Jake Powell, right, tries to elude Marietta’s Spencer Frum (41) during prep football action at Don Drumm Stadium on Sept. 6. The Warriors won their first game of the season 20-13, and hope to make it two in a row against visiting Athens Friday night.
Warren may not play a team on its football slate this fall any better than the Ryan Adams-led Bulldogs.
"There is no one in this part of Ohio that can match them right now," Schob said. "They beat Gallia (defending SEOAL champs) by 43 in Week 1, and beat another good team (Watkins Memorial) by 50 in Week 2.
"We know how good they are and what we are playing against, but we are excited for the great challenge in front of them. How many teams get to play in the environments we did at Marietta vs Parkersburg and Marietta, then get to open at home with a great team like Athens? This is why our kids play high school football at Warren, for opportunities like these."
Still, look for a real, honest-to-goodness dogfight at Warrior field as in the home underdogs versus the visiting 'Dogs of The Plains.
Athens beat Warren 66-14 at Scott Riggs and Family Stadium last year, and pretty much named its score in its first two games this season.
AHS opened up on the road in Gallipolis in Week 1, and drilled the Blue Devils, 62-19. Bulldog tailback Trae Williams led the way, rushing for 171 yards on 18 carries and five touchdowns. Teammate Dakotah McFee added 158 yards on the ground in nine attempts.
Stats-wise, Athens finished with a combined total of 487 rushing and passing yards.
The Bulldogs were even better in Week 2 at home, routing the Watkins Memorial Warriors, 53-3. Stepping into the spotlight was quarterback Joe Burrow, who completed 20 of 28 passes for 302 yards and five TDs.
Athens' Ryan Luehrman had three receptions for 115 yards and three TDs and Zacciah Saltzman had five catches for 80 yards, while Heath Wiseman caught four for 36 yards and one TD, Sam VanderVen had four for 28 yards, and Adam Luehrman three for 34 yards and a score.
Athens finished with 516 yards of total offense.
Doing the math, the Bulldogs have amassed 1,003 yards of total offense in their first two games. The green and gold gridders have been so efficient and effective in moving the chains that they're tiring out the distance officiators (people who move the chains) on the sideline.
"They are a regional final team from last year that returns almost all their skill players," Schob said. "Joey Burrow is a Division 1 QB that can pass and run, Williams is an incredibly quick RB, the Leuhrman (Ryan and Adam) brothers are 6-foot-4 and athletic WRs, and their two-slot WRs are very quick and good. They stretch the field and can attack fast and quick from anywhere."
So, what is Warren to do?
Well, first of all, the Warriors of Vincent are not intimidated. Being respectful, though, they know that Athens is good (maybe even better than good), but they also know the Bulldog players have two arms and two legs just like them.
Secondly, Warren is coming off its first win of the campaign, a 20-13 hard-fought, come-from-behind triumph against a good Marietta Tigers team at Don Drumm Stadium last Friday night.
Warrior QB Austin Klintworth led the way with three touchdown passes, two to tight end David Ryan and one to Jake Scott.
So, the royal blue and white will not be lacking in confidence when it takes on Athens.
Thirdly, Warren knows a little about playing in a shootout, having faced the Parkersburg Big Reds in its season opener at Don Drumm Stadium. Sure, the Warriors got beat 51-40, but the point is they too can put points on the scoreboard.
Andrew Henthorn is another offensive weapon that AHS will need to keep an eye on.
And, finally, the Warriors do have the homefield advantage, and that has to account for something. Yes, payback for last year's loss would certainly be sweet, but....
Win or lose Friday night, at the finish, Warren is hoping that Athens realizes it's been in a rock 'em and sock 'em football game.
"This is not the most athletic (Warren) team, and we also have some of our best athletes out with injuries," Schob said, "but it is a great group to coach, because they are coachable, work hard, and strive to get the maximum from themselves and each other, that is what you strive for as a coach.
"Athens is very talented, and I love watching them play...when I am not having to prepare to play against them."