Demons make first road trip to Marion
Washington running back Tanner Knupp still vividly remembers last year’s 13-10 loss to Marion.
“They edged us by three points on our home field for homecoming,” Knupp said. “A little vengeance is coming for them.”
Knupp will be a key factor in the running game, defense and punt returns, Friday at 7:30 p.m., in Marion.
In the second half Washington had the ball on the 10-,11- and 1-yard line but only got three points from those three possessions.
“It was a close game down here last year and I expect a close game up there,” said Washington head coach Randy Schrader. “We got down 13-0. We had a lot of distractions. Our kids rallied back and we had opportunities. We couldn’t capitalize on them.”
The Indians had an obvious size advantage last year. This year that will change with 26 departing seniors from last season.
“We have some good athletes,” said Marion head coach Tony Perkins. “We are going to be younger than we were last year.”
Marion will pose a tougher test than Fairfield did in last week’s 59-23 win, according to Schrader.
“They are a better football team,” Schrader said. “They will be stiffer competition. A lot more quicker and physical.”
Washington running back Alex Coker leads the team with 208 rushing yards and five touchdowns.
With this being the second meeting between the non-district teams, there are several unknown quantities.
“It was just a ‘feeling out’ process,” Perkins said. “We really look at the whole team. They are very athletic and physical. They have good athletes, and team speed. They are well coached.”
Marion runs a variety of formations on offense. The two most frequently used offenses are the Power I and spread.
“The Power I is definitely a run-orientated run offense,” Perkins said. “Man on man. The spread offense is going to throw the ball all over the field. Look shallow and throw deep.”
“They are quick; they have good speed,” Schrader said. “They have a really good receiver in Quinn Cannoy — a big tall kid.”
The senior has 286 receiving yards with a 28.6-yard average this season. He has scored five touchdowns with a long of 44 yards.
Coker will be called on to stop him as a free safety if the corner backs get beat.
The Indians have an established winning program. That success starts with their balanced running game with three backs rushing for 135 yards or more this year.
“They run the ball pretty effectively,” Schrader said. “They have a good history and tradition of good quality football. They were district champs I think last year.”
Marion senior quarterback Trevor Hardman gives his team balance with 353 yards passing and five touchdowns.
A crucial aspect could come down to the mindset of players prior to the game.
“We need to travel well,” Schrader said. “It is a high school kid getting in a bus and riding for an hour. We don’t know where their heads are at; are they getting locked in?”