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Tigers pound their way to 2nd straight triumph

Photo by Mike Morrison Marietta’s Elyjah Lieras-Kelley, right, tries to elude a defender during a high school football game against Richard Wright Friday at Don Drumm Stadium.

Marietta senior running back Zach Bartlett had a monster game for the second week in a row as the Tigers evened their record at 2-2 with a 40-12 win over the Richard Wright Spartans Friday night at Don Drumm Stadium.

For the second straight week Bartlett went over the 200-yard mark as he carried the ball 35 times for 216 yards and all six Tiger touchdowns.

Last week in an overtime win over Athens, Bartlett rushed for 209 yards on 41 carries and five touchdowns.

“Our kids did a really good job…. They (Richard Wright) had some really good athletes that we knew if they got the ball in open space they could make a play at anytime,” said MHS head coach Jason Schob. “Our kids up front did a great job and that allowed us to run the ball and limit their possessions.”

Bartlett got the orange and black on the board in the first quarter with a 9-yard touchdown run and later in the period scored on a six-yard plunge to give Marietta a 14-0 lead.

The Tiger senior set up the second score when he intercepted Robert Wright quarterback Stephon Fuller to give the Tigers possession of the ball deep in Spartan territory.

The Spartans got on the board midway through the second period to cut the Tiger lead to 14-6 when Fuller connected with Chamon Burleigh on a 63-yard run and catch.

Bartlett scored his third touchdown later in the half to give the Tigers a 21-6 lead at the intermission.

Marietta lined up sophomore quarterback Tyler Gerber in the middle flanked by Bartlett on one side and junior Weston Davis on the other and successfully pounded the ball right up the middle from the opening snap to the final whistle.

Bartlett gave his team a 28-6 lead midway through the third quarter on a one-yard plunge but the Spartans answered when Burleigh turned a screen pass from Fuller into a 56-yard touchdown pass with less than a minute to play to cut the Tiger lead to 28-12 heading to the final period.

The Tiger’s ball-control offensive strategy worked to perfection in the final period as they seemed to wear the Richard Wright squad down and Bartlett’s fifth touchdown of the game made it 34-12 with less than seven minutes to play in the game.

After the Spartans turned the ball back over to MHS on downs, Bartlett capped a spectacular two-week stretch when he scored his sixth touchdown of the game and an incredible 11th in the past two weeks for the games final score.

“Zach is just a workhouse and does whatever we ask him to do,” said Schob of Bartlett. “The unique thing is two weeks ago against River he didn’t even get 10 carries and he never complained he just kept working and that shows a lot about his character.”

Marietta put the ball in the air just one time for five yards in the game as they rushed the ball 57 times for 328 yards.

Davis added 57 yards for the winners on 12 carries while Gerber kept the rock 10 times for 55.

Richard Wright (0-2) did the majority of their damage in the air as Fuller completed 15-of-33 pass attempts for 273 yards.

Burleigh had a great game for the visitors as he hauled in six receptions for 196 yards while also rushing the ball 13 times for a team-high 64 markers.

The win evened things up for Marietta at 2-2 as they prepare to host Ripley next Friday night on their Hall of Fame and Homecoming night.

“We knew coming into the season that playing New Philly in week number one was going to be a challenge and that we would need to respond and get back after it,” said Schob. “The kids have done a good job and now we are back to .500 with a lot of games coming up that are toss-up games.”

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