Jeremiah McNeil (3) of Marysville powers through Dublin Jerome defenders Friday evening. The Monarchs turned back the Celtics, 31-12. (Journal-Tribune photo by Chad Williamson)
Almost like a hockey team changing lines, the Marysville football team is diligent about running fresh defensive linemen into games.
The idea is to keep supplying athletes with rested, explosive legs at the point of attack.
Friday night coach Brent Johnson decided to apply that idea to his offensive backfield and the result was a 31-12 thrashing of Dublin Jerome.
Five different ball carriers got at least six touches in the game and the result was 417 yards of offense on the ground.
“When we bring in new guys, we get that constant burst,” Johnson said after the game.
In the first two games of the season, Marysville relied on senior Ryan Kern and junior Gabe Powers to shoulder the load.
A trio of newcomers got a heavier share of the workload against the Celtics.
As a result, Marysville nearly doubled the Celtics’ offensive production without completing a pass.
“I just felt like after last week that we had to balance up,” Johnson said.
The old workhorses were still potent, as Powers had 134 yards on 13 carries and a pair of touchdowns, while Kern pounded out 77 yards on 14 totes between the tackles.
Griffin Johnson was given 11 carries in the game and responded with 115 yards and a touchdown.
The sophomore was called on mostly to run jet sweeps.
The Monarchs focused on attacking the edges of the field with Jerome’s defense stacking six men in the box with a soft cover 3.
Senior Logan McSwords got six carries for 34 yards, but the most intriguing addition to the mix was a player not seen in the backfield up to this point.
Junior Jeremiah McNeil came into the game on Marysville’s first drive and rumbled for a hard-fought 11-yard gain that brought a roar from the MHS sidelines.
A few plays later, McNeil was rewarded with another try that resulted in a seven-yard touchdown.
The coach explained that McNeil, who ended the game with eight carries for 40 yards, was brought in primarily in a package called “Rhino,” which tucked the fullback in behind a three-tackle unbalanced line.
Johnson said he felt the dominant win over a quality opponent (Jerome reached the second round the playoffs last year)
was much needed after miscues let a win at Hilliard Darby slip through the Monarchs’ fingers last week.
“That was a big game for us,” Johnson said. “We needed to get that taste out of our mouth.”
Marysville dominated the line of scrimmage from the outset, but the game remained close because the local squad missed out on some scoring opportunities.
Following the easy opening scoring drive, the Marysville defense held Jerome to minus three yards on three plays and forced a punt. MHS took the ball at its own 38 and look just as unstoppable as in the first drive.
After pushing down the field for nearly six-and-a-half minutes, the march stalled out at the seven.
The Monarchs had to settle for a 24-yard field goal from Logan Hall to make the score 10-0 with just under two minutes left in the first quarter.
Dublin abandoned the run and went to the air from that point on.
For the entire game, the Celtics were credited with 26 rush attempts, but 15 of those were scrambles by QB Ryan Miller.
Miller guided his team inside the MHS red zone early in the second quarter.
MHS’ Cam Jones picked off a ball in the end zone to end the threat.
Starting at its own 14, Marysville’s offense was again a pushing, plodding, punishing force as it overcame penalties to march inside the DJ 30 and chew almost seven minutes off the clock.
The Monarchs could not convert the effort into points as Griffin Johnson lost the handle on the ball.
The Celtics fell on it at the 26, with 4:17 left until the half.
Marysville’s final two drives of the half used up more than 13 minutes of clock, but resulted in just a trio of points.
Miller and his teammates took advantage of the gift and moved down the field through the air.
They picked up a big fourth-and-eight conversion along the way.
With just 27 seconds left in the half, Miller connected with Preston Everhart for an 18-yard scoring strike. The hold on the PAT was muffed and the Celtics settled for cutting the deficit to 10-6.
When Jerome connected for a long pass to put themselves 16 yards away from the go-ahead touchdown early in the second half, the Monarch defensive strategy changed.
Additional help in the secondary was gone, as the Monarchs pinned back their ears and pressured the quarterback.
The next three plays netted just a pair of yards, as the Celtics again faced fourth-and-8.
There would be no magic on the second time around as Powers came around the left edge and smashed Miller.
While Marysville’s offense went to sleep in the third period, its defense remained aggressive.
They swarmed Miller like an ocean wave in the backfield. One stretch of five recorded carries showed Miller’s gains as -4, -5, 1, -6 and -6.
Late in the third quarter, Marysville got things going and Powers capped a drive with an easy 30-yard run with just 12 second left. Hall’s point after put the score at 17-6 as the teams prepared for the final 12 minutes.
Marysville scored on its first two drives of the final quarter.
Powers capped the first with a one-yard run and Griffin Johnson finished the second with a nifty 34-yard sprint around the right end.
The final stanza would have been nearly flawless for the Monarchs, were it not for Jerome hitting on one big play between the MHS scores.
Everhart somehow found a crack in the Marysville front and quadrupled his team’s rushing yardage with a 60 yard scoring run.
The two point try failed.
The MHS coach said the only real adjustment he would like to see from his charges are in the small details of their assignments. He said no tweaking is needed in terms of aggressiveness.
“Our kids will be physical,” Johnson said. “They’ve got kind of a workhorse mentality.”
Marysville, now 2-1, will host Thomas Worthington on Friday.
...For the full story, select an option below.