Watch out for Tigers’ offense

Marietta High’s offense may have several new faces starting this year, but the Tigers picked up in week one close to where they left off last season.

MHS scored 36.7 points per game in 2016, but graduated their quarterback, top two receivers and three starting linemen. Naturally, some people may have expected a dropoff in production after losing so much talent to graduation, but the Tigers looked pretty effective against Morgan last Friday.

In his first varsity start at quarterback, sophomore Corbin Alkire was solid. The 6-foot-2, 190-pound signal-caller completed seven of his 15 pass attempts for 109 yards. He also ran for 90 yards and two touchdowns and mostly made good decisions running the offense, outside of one interception. Senior running back Dominic Vanfossen added 125 yards and two scores on 19 carries, and Marietta’s receiving unit made some nice plays. If Alkire and the receivers can continue to play well, it will prevent teams from being able to key in on the running game.

“That’s the only way we’re going to be successful,” said Marietta head coach Jason Schob. “(Morgan) put seven guys in the box just to stop Dominic pretty much. We need to be able to take advantage of other things. I was pretty pleased with Corbin. Corbin’s a big part of taking advantage of other stuff.”

There is still room for improvement, though. With several new players competing together in their first game, it’s understandable that Marietta had some miscues — a fumbled handoff, a couple high snaps, miscommunication on receiving routes — at one point in the third quarter, Alkire threw a deep pass inside Morgan’s 10-yard line, where two wide open MHS receivers ran into each other as the throw fell incomplete. However, Schob believes those things will improve as everyone gains more experience.

“We have a whole new skill position group pretty much besides Dominic,” Schob said. “We need to be more consistent. We’ve shown glimpses of the receivers catching the ball well. We’ve shown glimpses of the offensive line blocking well. We just need to put it all together. I told the kids if we can put it all together we can be pretty special this year.”

Across the offensive line from left to right, Marietta started Tyler Hartline, Dylan Beardmore, Cody Wittekind, Lincoln Bolton and Tyler Warner. Wittekind, a senior, started his first career game at center in place of injured Noah Fish and held his own.

“He did a pretty good job,” Schob said. “Obviously, he wasn’t perfect but that was his first time ever playing center. So, we’re pretty pleased.”

Alkire spread the ball around well with four different players catching passes. Tanner Stack led the way with 75 yards on three catches, while Matthew Bertram had two receptions for 17 yards, Jermaine Burke had one for 11 and Chase Taylor one for six. Devon Moss was impressive late in the game on two carries, going for 30 yards in relief of Vanfossen.

So, there’s a lot of weapons for Schob to use. If the defense can continue to play like it did against Morgan, Marietta could do some damage in 2017.

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