Marietta’s state championship team will take the field one more time.
The Blue Devils (13-2) will face Eastside Catholic (12-1) on Friday night in the first of the two-game GEICO State Champions Bowl Series at Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas. Kickoff is scheduled for 11 p.m. Eastern, with the game nationally televised on ESPNU.
Eastside, which won Washington’s Class 3A state championship with a 20-12 win over O’Dea on Dec. 7, will be making its second appearance in the showcase. It brings in a roster that includes four four-star players who signed with Power Five colleges Wednesday — wide receiver Gee Scott (Ohio State), running back Sam Adams II (Washington), tight end DJ Rogers (California) and defensive back Ayden Hector (Stanford).
Other signees from the Seattle-area program included linemen Jernias Tafia and D’Angalo Titialii, who will play for Portland State in the Football Championship Subdivision, and the Crusaders also have five-star junior defensive end J.T. Tuimoloau.
“We traded film with them this week,” Marietta coach Richard Morgan said. “They are loaded.”
Eastside comes in averaging 31.8 points and 415.9 yards of total offense per game. It will be a big test for the Marietta defense, especially coming off the emotional high of its 17-9 state championship victory over Lowndes last Saturday.
Marietta is the only public school in the GEICO event, which features four state championship teams. Hawaii’s Saint Louis School and Florida’s St. Thomas Aquinas High School will play Saturday night.
Morgan said it was an honor and a big accomplishment to be selected.
“You look at the national rankings — 70% of the teams are private schools,” Morgan said. “To be a public school in this event is a real compliment to our program.”
Each team was allowed to bring 55 players to the game. Morgan said he planned on playing the starters some, but he hoped to rotate in some of the players who will be coming back next season.
However, with the limited roster, it will make that more difficult.
“Unfortunately, they only allowed us so many tickets,” Morgan said. “It’s kind of like a college dress list. Not everyone gets to travel, but I wish they would have given us 80 tickets.”
Marietta was scheduled to fly to Las Vegas on Thursday, then have a full practice at Bishop Gorman in the afternoon. A walkthrough was scheduled for Friday morning before the team returns to the stadium for the game.
The Marietta travel party will fly back to Georgia on Saturday.