Friday night delight for the Marietta Tigers

Jason Schob called a timeout.

He then called another.

The third-year Marietta High head football coach was trying to ice Morgan High field goal kicker Ethan Newton in the closing seconds of last Friday night’s season-opening thriller McConnelsville at The Pit.

The Tigers led 51-48, but if the 6-foot,190-pound junior soccer-style-kicking Newton could split the uprights from 42-yards out, the Raiders would tie the score for the second time in the fourth quarter – and in all likelyhood, would send the game into overtime.

Schob, of course, was doing what any football coach would do in a similar situation. He was hoping that the timeouts would give Newton time to think about the kick.

Earlier, in the first half, Newton – who also plays for the Morgan soccer team – had kicked two field goals, one from 33 yards out and another from 39. So, 42 yards was definitely within his range.

With no more Marietta timeouts, Newton was finally going to get his chance.

Everyone including players and fans alike, held their breath as the Raider center snapped the ball to the holder, who put it down for Newton to kick.

Obviously, Marietta was rushing everybody to try to get a hand on the attempt, and the Morgan linemen were blocking like crazy.

Newton got the kick off. He had to loft it a little bit, so it wouldn’t get blocked. But his boot was straight as it headed towards the uprights.

It was straight but not true. His kick fell just short, and the Tigers celebrated a three-point come-from-behind victory.

“That game definitely could’ve gone either way,” said Schob after the contest. “I’m proud of the kids for keeping fighting. They never gave up, and they found a way to pull it out.”

Did they ever. And, they did it without a couple of key players – running back Dominic Vanfossen and center Darnell Kimbrough. Both who we injured.

Marietta trailed 10-7 at the end of one; 27-20 at the half; and 34-27 at the end of three.

Twice in the game, the Tigers were down two touchdowns, 27-14 and 34-20.

Keeping Marietta close was 6-3, 200-pound senior wide receiver Travis Moore, who had all four Tiger TDs, going into the fourth quarter. He scored on runs of 5 and 54 yards, a 89-yard kickoff return, and he managed to haul in a 26-yard pass from quarterback Trent Dawson.

“The kid’s a ballplayer,” Schob said. “What makes Travis so special is that he puts so much time in the offseason. He’s really earned it.”

In the fourth period, Moore only scored on a two-point conversion pass from Dawson, but it tied the score at 41-all.

Marietta had three other players score touchdowns in the final stanza when it outpointed Morgan, 24-14. Dawson got one on a 1-yard run; Bailey Wright hauled in a 51-yard pass from Dawson for another; and Isaac Danford ran 5 yards to paydirt to give the Tigers their first lead of the game, 48-41, at the 7:55 mark.

Morgan came back and tied the game a second time.

But with less than a minute remaining, Marietta had the ball with a fourth-and-goal on the Raider 10. And, that’s when Schob signaled for his team’s first timeout.

When play was resumed, kicker Austyn Chen, also a Marietta soccer player and the team’s leading goal-scorer last season, came on the field and kicked a 27-yard field goal to give the Tigers a 51-48 advantage. His kick proved to be the tally Morgan could not overcome.

“Chen really stepped up and made a couple of tackles (in the game), and knocked down the field goal,” said Moore afterwards.

Actually, all of the Tigers stepped up to treat their faithful to one dandy of a game.

Ron Johnston is a Marietta Times sports writer, and can be reached at (740)373-2121, x534, or at rjohnston@mariettatimes.com