Marysville’s Gracen Fultz (22) attempts a tackle against a Central Crossing ball carrier. The Monarchs will face a big challenge against Springfield’s offense on Friday during the opening round of the Division I state playoffs. (Journal-Tribune photo by Chad Williamson)
The Marysville High School football team will face an explosive offense during Friday’s opening round of the Division I state playoffs.
The No. 8 seeded Monarchs will take a 6-4 record into the 7 p.m. contest at Springfield (9-1).
The Wildcats earned the top seed in Region 2 of D-I.
Springfield has tallied quite a few points this season, averaging 34.4 per game.
The Wildcats operate out of the spread formation with 3 x 1 and 2 x 2 receiver looks.
The offense is led by sophomore quarterback Te’sean Smoot.
“He will stand in the pocket and throw the ball,” said Marysville head coach Brent Johnson.
Smoot, who has passed for 1,938 yards and 15 touchdowns, has a favorite receiver in Larry Stephens, a 6-1, 170-pound senior who is capable of making the big play against teams’ defensive backfields.
Stephens has latched onto 42 receptions for 907 yards and nine TDs.
Although the Wildcats like to go with the aerial attack, the Monarch defense must not go to sleep against the ground game.
Senior Jeffrey Tolliver and Tayveon Smoot, a 222-pound senior, combine speed and power in the backfield.
Tolliver has rushed for 1,070 yards and 17 scores.
Smoot leads the team in carries with 120, good for 682 yards. He’s found the end zone 11 times.
“Our defense will need to be gap sound and play a physical style of football,” said Johnson, whose team has yielded just 12.3 points per game.
“We can’t give up big plays and our defense must get off the field on third down.
“We have to make Springfield work for anything they get,” he said.
The Wildcats will employ a 50 defensive front, which will want to take away the Monarchs’ running game.
Marysville has hung its offensive hat on its ground attack this season.
Senior Chase Kilgore leads MHS with 938 yards on 163 carries.
Ryan Kern and Gabe Powers have also contributed to the running game.
“Springfield’s defense blitzes a lot and runs to the ball well,” said Johnson of the squad that has surrendered only 115 points on the season.
Linebacker Xzerious Stinnett leads the team with 114 total tackles.
The Monarchs have scored at a per-game clip of 26.8, therefore, it’s only logical that something is going to have to give during the matchup between the MHS offense and the Cats’ defense.
“Our Wing T offense is going to be something different for Springfield,” said Johnson. “A lot of the teams they play during the regular season used the spread.”
The MHS boss feels his offensive line will match up well against Springfield’s defensive front.
The guys in the trenches will have to sustain their blocks in order for the Monarchs to go through with their game plan.
“Once again, we have to hog the ball on offense,” said Johnson. “We have to control the game clock, get yards after contact and keep their offense off the field.
“Staying in front of the sticks will be very important.”
There were rumors late in the regular season that Springfield would be eliminated from the post-season, due to the use of an ineligible player.
Those rumors proved to be unfounded.
“We had heard that, but we didn’t know if there was any validity to it,” said Johnson. “Once we learned we made the playoffs, we were all in on Springfield unless we heard something different.”
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