Monarch running back Griffin Johnson (22) takes the pitch from quarterback Ethan Musel (9) during last week’s game against Dublin Jerome. MHS will play at Clayton Northmont on Friday. (Journal-Tribune photo by Chad Williamson)
Coming off their first football playoff victory in nearly two decades, the Marysville Monarchs (6-1) will take to the road for the next round of the post-season.
MHS posted a convincing 35-14 home triumph last Friday over Dublin Jerome.
Marysville will now travel toward the Dayton area this Friday to take on Clayton Northmont.
The Thunderbolts are No. 5 in this week’s Associated Press Division I state poll and are unbeaten in seven games.
Marysville’s defensive secondary will be tested a good deal as the ‘Bolts throw the ball quite a bit out of their spread formation.
Northmont’s offense is led by quarterback Cade Rice and receivers Markus Allen and Rod Moore.
Rice led the Greater Western Ohio Conference in passing yardage with 1,744.
He’s completed 57% of his passes for 23 touchdowns.
Allen, who had been a University of Michigan committed recruit, has caught 50 passes for 733 yards (14.7 average) and 11 touchdowns.
Moore has been on the receiving end of 24 passes for 387 yards and eight TDs.
Marysville High School head coach Brent Johnson said the key to clamping down on the Thunderbolts’ passing game is putting pressure on Rice.
“I like our speed on our pass rush,” said Johnson. “We’ve got to get pressure on their quarterback in order to make him hurry his passes.”
The Monarch boss said there is no deception in what Clayton Northmont will do with the ball.
“They don’t disguise anything,” said Johnson. “They’re going to take their shots down the field.
“However, we’ve got to eliminate their big play capability.”
Just as the Monarchs must shut down the Thunderbolts’ aerial attack, Northmont will have to apply heavy concentration to MHS’ infantry.
Monarch running backs Ryan Kern, Gabe Powers and Griffin Johnson each rushed for more than 100 yards last week against Dublin Jerome.
“Northmont plays a base three-front defense,” said Johnson. “However, we’ll probably see a 44 or 52. We may even see a seven-man front if we go with our two tight-end package.
“They are going to key on our running game,” he said.
Johnson said Northmont linebacker Joe Taylor III is especially stout against the ground game.
He’s tallied 16 solo tackles and 24 assists through seven games.
“He’s a very aggressive player,” said Johnson. “We’ve got to get a hat on him.”
Linebacker Phillip Quansah leads the Thunderbolts with 64 total tackles (32 solo and assists).
“Northmont’s defense gets downhill quickly,” said Johnson. “They are very disciplined against the run.”
Although he was happy with the victory over Dublin Jerome, the Monarch coach knows his team has to tweak some things before hitting the road against Northmont.
“We’ve got to tighten our running courses,” he said. “We also need to have better blocking angles than we did against Dublin Jerome.
“Our pad level was also a little high last week,” said the coach. “We’ve worked on that this week.
“If our pad level is good, we’re going to be OK.”
Johnson said the Monarchs must control the tempo of the game in order to win and advance in the playoffs.
“We’ve got to get our defense off the field as quickly as possible,” he said.
“This is also going to be a huge field position game.”
Johnson said the Monarchs will need to stay within themselves.
“We have to be disciplined and worry about us,” he said. “We also will have to be patient.
“In the ensuing rounds of the playoffs, the (running) holes are going to get smaller and the scores are going to get tighter.”