GLEN DALE - There's a sign inside the John Marshall locker room that reminds each player as they leave, just what the opposition has thought of them lately. It was put there by new coach Rick Goodrich, and the ammo supplied by his former school, Cambridge.
The Bobcats look at the Monarchs and see a lazy, out-of-shape outfit. As evidence, they point to the fact that during the teams' Week 1 meetings each of the last three years, numerous JM players fell victim to cramps.
"They came to me, and there was probably about a dozen of them, and said 'Coach, get those boys in shape so they don't embarrass themselves,' '' Goodrich recalled. "I was actually embarrassed for John Marshall.
"People have that perception of us, and I want them to have that perception. People out there think it's going to be the same old John Marshall, and they have the right to. Truthfully, we are until we prove different."
That changed in a hurry when Goodrich arrived. The weight training was structured, the conditioning non-stop and well-attended, and the numbers are way up. John Marshall finished with less than 30 players on its roster as last year's 0-10 season concluded, but during the second week of 2012 camp there were 54 players in grades 10-12 and another 28 freshmen.
"The first day in June, I said 'what did we get ourselves into?' Goodrich said with a laugh. "But then it started clicking. They had no idea what was going on and they weren't playing with confidence.
Aug. 24: Cambridge7:30 p.m.
Sept. 1: at Bellaire12:30 p.m.
Sept. 7: at Buckeye Local7:30 p.m.
Sept. 14: Oak Glen7:30 p.m.
Sept. 21: East Liverpool7:30 p.m.
Sept. 28: at Wheeling Park7 p.m.
Oct. 12: University7:40 p.m.
Oct. 19: Morgantown7:30 p.m.
Oct. 26: at Brooke7 p.m.
Nov. 2: at Pksbg. South7:30 p.m.
WIN 6, LOSE 4
"Their conditioning factor was pathetic. But once they understood the concept of it, we had a good last week and a half in June. We had a good July in conditioning and the first day of two-a-days was naturally rusty.
"They worked hard and wanted to be successful. They're starving for victory and you can just feel it."
It's no secret what Goodrich-coached teams like to do, and that's not going to change. The Monarchs for years have had a wide-open offense, but they're about to pound the football.
"Some coaches try to show how much they know," Goodrich said. "People might get frustrated with what we do when we run our off-tackle 25 times a game, but if we're having success with it, we're going to run it.
"Why throw the football just because someone up in the stands wants you to?"
The coach feels as though he has "six or seven" backs he feels he can comfortably hand the ball to, led by 5-foot-10, 185-pound senior speedster R.J. Kibert who averaged 6 yards a carry last season (82-494-2td). Seniors Jacob Woods (5-11, 170) and Matt Zelic (5-8, 185) as well as junior Alan Miller (5-6, 185) will see carries.
Looking for reps are senior Cody Williams (5-6, 145) and sophomore Alex Wharton (6-0, 145).
At fullback will be 6-0, 180-pound senior James Morgan. Classmates Justin Dancy (5-10, 185) and Kolt Galentine, along with sophomore Luke Howard (5-11, 175) will also see action here. Junior Ralph Howe (5-10, 150) and sophomore Daniel Baker (5-7, 155) are also in the mix
"We have some steady kids," Goodrich said. "You give me a steady back who is going to get you 3 yards a pop, we'll live with that.
"You don't have to have a home run hitter, but Kibert has the speed to take it the distance."
There will be a new quarterback at John Marshall for the first time in four years, and his name is Jeremiah Fromhart, a 5-10, 180 senior. Backing him is promising sophomore Aaron Bishop (5-10, 165), as well as Zelic and sophomore Brady Murrin (5-8, 135).
"We're going to run the ball and try to establish the play-action pass. Our quarterbacks are built for that,'' Goodrich said. "We don't have a prolific, drop-back passer. We have an athlete, and we're going to try to get him in space on the perimeter and put some pressure on the defense.
"Everybody looks at us like a running team, which we are, but the last three years our quarterback had 1,300, 1,400 yards. We'll throw the ball 5 yards to the fullback in the flat and let him run 20 yards. We'll take it any way we can get it."
Seniors Jeremy Betras (5-9, 170) and Evan Magers (6-1, 165) will rotate at wide receiver with classmate Jake Hicks (5-8, 155) and sophomore Devin Gonchoff (5-5, 125) fighting for playing time. Sophomore Jared Horan (5-9, 140) and senior Ryan Davis (5-8, 135) will rotate at flanker, with sophomores Tanner Runkle (6-0, 170) and Patrick Yocum (5-11, 130) also in the mix.
Other receivers/flankers who could see action are senior Garrett Crawford (5-8, 130), junior Aaron Gonchoff and sophomores Logan Cooper (6-1, 155), Brandon DeBolt (5-7, 140), D.J. Kaylor (5-6, 135), Andrew Armstrong (5-6, 120) and Jonathan Taylor (5-7, 130).
Of course, none of those skill guys matter without an offensive line. Goodrich feels the Monarchs are going to be pretty good in this area.
The tackles will be junior Marshall Springer (6-4, 250) on the left side and senior Tyler Kobasko (6-3, 315) on the right. They'll be backed by sophomore Travis Works (6-3, 230) and junior Cole Croghan, respectively.
Junior Brayden Carter (5-8, 190) and senior Larry Eddy (6-6, 220) are ticketed for the guard positions, with sophomore Dallas Catlett (5-9, 240) and senior Walker Standiford (6-2, 195) listed as primary backups.
Anchoring the middle is senior center Joe Richmond (6-1, 245). He will be spelled by classmate Kyle Whorton (5-11, 285).
The tight end is senior Zach Winland (6-0, 180). Sophomore Scott Kubancik (6-2, 195) and senior Patrick Burkett (6-0, 185) will both see time at the position, with sophomore Hunter Whitlatch (6-2, 155) and senior Kenny Noice (6-5, 170) trying to make a name.
Senior Dylan Myer (6-1, 240), juniors Randy Bane (5-8, 210) and Tyler Carney (6-2, 285), as well as sophomores Tyler DeBolt (5-8, 190), Thad Herback (5-9, 210), Trent Estep (5-7, 190) and Cameron Fisher (6-2, 205) will all be ready if called upon.
"We've got to be mistake-free. We can't have 10 good snaps and then have a fumbled one and it's first-and-15,'' Goodrich said. "We've got to stay ahead of schedule - second-and-6, third-and-2. We can manage those situations."
Juniors Reed Campbell (5-10, 158) and Austin Litman (6-0, 167) were battling it out for kickoff and extra-point duty during the preseason.
Goodrich thinks he has a number of guys who can run on defense, and because of that fact will employ a 3-5.
Eddy and Standiford will be the ends, with Fisher, Richmond and Kubancik rotating in. Kobasko will clog the middle and get a breather from Springer and Catlett.
Works, Whorton, Bane, Tyler DeBolt, Herback, Myer, Estep, Carney and Croghan could all see action along the interior.
Galentine is ticketed to start at Will linebacker, with relief coming from Dancy. On the other side at the Sam position will be Morgan, backed by Carter. And in the middle will be Winland, who is spelled by Howard.
Baker, Wharton, Zelic and Cooper all could get time at linebacker.
The outside linebackers are Miller and Woods, backed by Betras, Williams, Howe and Burkett. The corners will be Fromhart and Kibert, with relief supplied by Horan, Davis and Hicks.
Magers is set to start at free safety, with top support coming from Runkle.
Miller will be the punter.
"Our goal when we started Day 1 in June, was to get a little better mentally and a little better physically,'' Goodrich said. "If we can get a little tougher mentally and physically each day, that will take care of things in the fall.
"Our kids want to be so successful. Every kid wants to be good, but some kids don't know what it takes to be good. These kids didn't know what it took to be good. They know what it takes now and are working toward that."
Goodrich is assisted by Gerald Miller, Bob Triveri, Lance Phillips, Joel Sansone, Mike Sforza, Joe Sturgill, Bill Timko Geno Polsinelli, Ray Anderson, Jason Willis, Andy Etzel and Gary Zelinski.
Jeremy Betras, Patrick Burkett, Garrett Crawford, Justin Dancy, Ryan Davis, Larry Eddy, Jeremiah Fromhart, Kolt Galentine, Jake Hicks, R.J. Kibert, Tyler Kobasko, Evan Magers, Dylan Meyer, James Morgan, Joe Richmond, Walker Standiford, Kyle Whorton, Cody Williams, Zach Winland, Jacob Woods, Matt Zelic.
Randy Bane, Reed Campbell, Tyler Carney, Brayden Carter, Cole Croghan, Aaron Gonchoff, Ralph Howe, Austin Litman, Alan Miller, Kenny Noice, Tanner Runkle, Marshall Springer.
Andrew Armstrong, Daniel Baker, Aaron Bishop, Dallas Catlett, Logan Cooper, Brandon DeBolt, Tyler DeBolt, Trent Estep, Cameron Fisher, Devin Gonchoff, Thad Herback, Jared Horan, Luke Howard, D.J. Kaylor, Scott Kubancik, Brady Murrin, Jonathan Taylor, Alex Wharton, Hunter Whitlatch, Travis Works, Patrick Yocum.