Marysville running back Deven Slabaugh picks up yardage against Jonathan Alder last Friday. The Monarchs will host Delaware Hayes this week.
(Journal-Tribune photo by Chad Williamson)
The first home football game of the 2017 season will find the Marysville Monarchs looking to break into the win column.
Following last Friday’s 35-32 overtime loss at Jonathan Alder, the Monarchs will take on Delaware Hayes (1-0) this Friday in the quest for their first triumph of the campaign.
The Pacers are a power running team that works off spread sets, according to MHS head coach Brent Johnson.
Delaware’s “go-to” guy is running back Blaine McMillen.
“He does a good job of running with his eyes,” said Johnson. “He does a good job of breaking back on you behind a big offensive line.”
Although Hayes hangs its hat on the infantry game, Johnson said he expects some aerial antics as well.
“I can see them throwing the ball against us, after all the passing yards (171) we gave up last week against Jonathan Alder,” he said.
Johnson said Hayes has used a couple of quarterbacks during its scrimmages, but added that he expects sophomore Mack Keishawn to take the snaps on Friday.
“We’re going to have to be gap sound against their running game,” said Johnson. “We’re going to have to be good up front with our hands and read our keys.
“We will need to play the run first and take that away.”
If the Monarchs are successful doing that, their linebackers will have to come up and keep the Pacers from “dinking” passes over the middle like Alder quarterback Preston Eisnaugle was able to do.
Delaware will primarily line up in a 4-4 base defense with a cover three in the secondary.
“They showed some 50 last week against Buckeye Valley,” said Johnson. “We’re going to have to watch for both.”
The linebackers are the strength of the Pacers’ defense as they pursue the ball well.
“Hopefully, we’ll be able to get their linebackers off course with our gap blocking,” said Johnson.
The long-time football theory is that coaches want to see the biggest improvement in their team from the first week of the regular season to the second.
With that in mind, where does Johnson want to see the Monarchs’ biggest improvement?
“We’ve got to get better in stopping the run and defending the pass,” he said. “We got lost with our eyes a lot of times against Jonathan Alder and as a result, they found a lot of holes in our defense. We have to defend guys, not areas.
“We can’t give up big plays,” he added. “We have to make Delaware Hayes earn everything they get.
“Offensively, we need to continue to stay on schedule,” said Johnson. “We did a nice job of cutting down on penalties last week and that made it easier.”
Friday’s game is not only the initial home game of the campaign, but it will also be a night to honor assistant coach Aaron Peitsmeyer.
The game is being billed as “Peits Night” to draw awareness to Peitsmeyer’s months-long battle against cancer.
“We’re going to be wearing our ‘Peits Strong’ T-shirts,” said Johnson. “We want Aaron to know that he’s still with us.”
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