Tiger offense continues to impress

JEFF BAUGHAN The Marietta Times Marietta’s Trent Dawson, center, hands off to Dominic Vanfossen, right, after faking a handoff to Isaac Danford during a high school football game against Parkersburg Friday at Don Drumm Stadium.

By now, most people have heard or seen what Marietta High’s offense is capable of.

After a 49-13 statement victory over Parkersburg Friday at Don Drumm Stadium, the Tigers are sitting at 4-1 and eyeing a spot in the Ohio Division III playoffs. If they continue to average 46 points per game, the postseason is a very strong possibility.

“We just have to have high energy through these last five games,” said Tiger senior Isaac Danford, who caught five passes for 83 yards and four touchdowns. “If we have these next five games at 4-1, we’re in the playoffs, and that would be awesome.”

Danford has been a scoring machine this season, especially recently with seven touchdowns in the last two games. Classmate and fellow receiver Travis Moore also caught a touchdown in Friday’s win and finished with 154 yards on 12 receptions. Moore’s touchdown late in the third quarter gave Marietta a 28-7 lead. He batted the ball away from a Parkersburg defender and caught it with one hand while stepping into the end zone, continuing the trend of Tiger receivers catching nearly everything thrown to them.

“It’s awesome,” said senior quarterback Trent Dawson. “I know I can just throw the ball up there and they’ll make plays for me. And I’ve got to thank my line. They give me time to just relax and feel comfortable back there so I can find these guys and let them make plays.

“Them blocking helps me make quick reads. The quicker I make a read the more open they are and the more room they have to work with.”

Dawson was in the zone Friday and put together the best passing performance of his career. He completed 19 of his first 20 attempts and finished 24 for 27 with 293 yards and five touchdowns. His only blemish was a third quarter interception by Bradley Craig.

“I’m so happy for Trent,” said MHS head coach Jason Schob. “Of all the kids, I’m happy Trent’s gotten to that level. He’s really earned it and he’s extremely coachable. He does whatever we ask. He has extremely high football IQ right now which you can’t really teach.”

Dawson and Danford combined for TD passes of 5, 6 and 7 yards in the first half. On the first one, Danford hauled in a screen pass and dodged a pair of defenders to get into the end zone. Later, he scored a TD on a 6-yard slant to help the Tigers go up 14-0.

“He just put every ball where it needed to be placed,” Danford said of Dawson. “I think that second touchdown on the slant route — there was no better place he could’ve put that ball. Trent’s great with accuracy and our O-line gives him time. We just had it going today.”

With time winding down in the quarter, Danford caught a 29-yard pass to set up the Tigers at the PHS 7-yard line. The next play, Dawson threw up a pass in the left corner of the end zone. Danford went up and caught the ball over Craig, who had seemingly perfect coverage, for his third touchdown of the game. His fourth touchdown was his longest catch of the day, a 36-yarder in the fourth quarter.

“The kids put so much time in the offseason,” Schob said. “Just one-on-one, little small groups, doing it on their own with just catching and throwing and working on timing. You can tell it’s really paying off because we don’t have a lot of drops. That’s a credit to their work ethic.”

The Tigers are hoping said work ethic continues to pay off over the final five games, four of which will be against East Central Ohio League opponents. The Tigers have not defeated an ECOL Scarlet Division team since joining the league in 2011. That will have to change if Marietta is to play in week 11.

“We’ve just got to show up to practice with our eyes looking forward,” Dawson said. “We can take some time this weekend to enjoy the win but then we’ve just got to be back on the grind and ready to go.”

Added Schob, “We can’t afford a letdown with our schedule. We need to make sure we bring this effort every single night if we’re going to make the playoffs.”