Blue Devil defense steps up to boost offense
by Carlton D. White
cwhite@mdjonline.com
September 01, 2012 02:38 AM | 3769 views | 5 5 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Marietta at Pope

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MARIETTA — Marietta’s offense was on display once again Friday, but this time the defense came to play as well.

The Blue Devils nearly shut out Pope en route to earning a 27-7 victory in non-region action at the Pope Multi-Sport Complex.

Marietta (1-1) scored touchdowns on its first four possessions and led 27-0 at halftime.

After throwing an incompletion on his first pass attempt, Blue Devils quarterback Anthony Jennings completed his next 18 tosses and finished the game 19-for-23 for 230 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed seven times for 23 yards and two scores.

“I like to challenge the kids and give them something to focus on and hopefully they’ll respond,” Marietta coach Scott Burton said. “These guys impressed me (Friday). They started fast and kept building on that, and the defense played very well on the other side. I’m very proud of the guys because they responded.”

Tyree Harris was on the receiving end of Jennings’ touchdown passes. He caught a 22-yard reception to complete a 10-play, 60-yard drive that put Marietta in front 20-0 with 10:27 left in the second quarter, and he was also on the back end of a 19-yard toss for a 27-0 Blue Devils advantage with 3:04 remaining in the second.

Harris ended the game with four receptions for 60 yards and two scores.

“I think we played well,” he said. “The offensive line practiced really hard this week, and they gave Anthony some good chances to look downfield. The team has a word each week and this week it was ‘attitude.’ The coaches really pushed us in practice and it paid off. It was a whole team effort. We were together, offensively and defensively.”

Marietta started the game with a 10-yard penalty and Jennings’ initial incompletion, but after those two miscues, the Blue Devils’ offense just couldn’t be stopped.

Jennings completed three straight passes, and a 58-yard run from Kervonte Benson set up Marietta at the 2. One play later, Jennings punched in for a 3-yard touchdown, but the 2-point conversion failed and left the Blue Devils with a 6-0 lead.

Pope’s first possession stalled in its half of the field following a sack from Jan Robles and an incompletion from Greyhounds quarterback Stephen Skruck.

After receiving the punt, Jennings completed a 40-yard reception to Chavez Hemphill that set up first-and-goal from the 8. Jennings scored from 3 yards out one play later to end a nine-play, 83-yard drive that put Marietta in front 13-0 with 3:31 left in the first quarter.

A quick four-and-out from Pope (0-1) resulted in Jennings’ 22-yard touchdown pass to Harris.

Skruck competed his first pass with 10:20 left in the second quarter. It started a promising 11-play drive to the Marietta 33-yard line, but a fumble recovered by Amanuel Gantt gave the ball back to the Blue Devils, who ran a no-huddle offense that led to Harris’ 19-yard touchdown.

Jennings’ string of 18 straight completions ended with 7:03 remaining in the third quarter.

Pope finally got on the board with 5:20 left in the game after Skruck ran in for a 3-yard touchdown. Ronald Woods, who carried the ball 10 times for 44 yards, gave up great second effort on fourth-and-4 at the 9-yard line to pick up the second down and extend the drive.

Skruck, who was 12-for-23 for 133 yards, also completed a 28-yard pass to Logan Carr on third-and-7 to keep the chains moving.

Carr finished with five catches for 57 yards, and running back Brooks Climmons had 14 rushes for 80 yards.

Benson totaled three carries for 80 yards for Marietta, and Jordan Mathis had six receptions for 50 yards.

“Watching us drive down the field late in the game and complete some tough third-down plays was definitely something to build on,” Pope coach Matt Kemper said. “(Anthony Jennings) is one heck of a football player, and coach Burton and his staff do an excellent job over there.

“We got ‘outathleted’ (Friday). We needed some breaks and didn’t get them, but I’m proud of our kids.”
Comments
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Jus Saying
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September 12, 2012
@ Further Info; No one is suggesting that the band play when we have the ball, but we are suggesting they play some updated music whenever they do play. Music that will get that will build an electric atmosphere for the both the players and the fans. Case n Point; although Osborne does not have a very good team right now, their band is excellent. They put on a SHOW throughout the game and on the field. Our band director should go there and watch what a band should be doing during the football game. I guarentee it will only enhance the atmosphere and experience at the game.
Jus Saying
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September 04, 2012
I have held my peace on this issue for too long and I know of a lot of parents and Marietta fans who feel this way. So here it is...what is it with the Marietta High band at the football games. We may have won the football game but Pope band brought more excitement and entertainment, as does everyone Marietta play. I'm not even concerned with the field show because I know bands use halftime to practice on their show for contest season, but in the stands the band is there to pump up the players and fans with good popular, modern music. I was a high school and college athlete and I remember just how big a role the band played in supporting the team. Just hearing a good popular song being blasted by the band really got your adrenaline pumping and it got the crowd going as well. Before you say i don't understand, I played in a HS band a long time ago in another state as well, and in the stands our job was to bring excitement. It appears that everyone Marietta plays understands this, but not Marietta. Please understand this is not a knock on the kids; they're only doing what they're directed. This is more about this outdated approach from the band leadership. We are tired of hearing those same two songs being played 20 times every game while other bands are playing music that sets an energetic tone. It's time for a change. Step up Mr. Director; do something different, bring some excitement. Again, we don't care what you do on the field, but at least step up your game in the stands.
Larry Welk
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September 04, 2012
I agree with Jus Saying. Pope's band was so much better than our band. I am glad someone finally stepped up said something. It is time to pep up the band at Marietta. I would like to here something from Kanye West. Or something a little more current. It would provide a better atmosphere and really support the players. Especially when they are losing. They need all of the support they can get. They should be better athletic supporters and show there blue devel spirit. GO BLUE DEVILS!
getsomepep
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September 05, 2012
It'll be a competition when Walton plays you. Our band is close to depressing! Sure, they work hard and can play the fight song and we love the tuba song and the Egyptian themed song. Other then that, it sounds like canned funeral music. Parents have tried to suggest, both in person and anonymously, to please play something peppy to fire up the crowd. I think Jus Saying is correct when he says that the director is so old school, he refuses to get with the current times. It's nothing like when we grew up where people left the game admiring the players and the band.
Further Info
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September 10, 2012
Please know that the Marietta coaches have specifically said to not play when Marietta is on Offense - AT ALL ! and only play when we are on Defense AND the team is on the opposite end of the field.
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