GLEN DALE - John Marshall and new coach Rick Goodrich came into the 2012 season seeking to regain respect for a once-proud football program that had fallen on hard times in recent years.
Folks on the Monarchs' schedule are starting to take notice despite an 0-3 start under the highly regarded Goodrich whose resume included much success at his previous two coaching stops.
Phil Pest, coach at Buckeye Local, was quoted after the Panthers knocked off John Marshalll 20-6 last Friday night as saying: ''They are a much better team than they have been. That certainly wasn't an easy win. He (Goodrich) has done a good job there so far.''
File photo by Joe Lovell
Running back Jacob Wood and John Marshall are set to entertain Oak Glen on Friday night.
Ian Whittington, while preparing 2-1 Oak Glen for tomorrow night's trip to Monarch Stadium, pointed out that ''Rick is a good man and an excellent football coach. He knows what he is doing. It should be a good matchup for us. Both teams are a little big and play physical football.''
Goodrich may like some of the things being said about his team but he obviously is far from satisfied. Even he would admit the light at the end of the tunnel remains several miles ahead.
''Right now things are not where we would like them to be,'' Goodrich stressed. ''But we are progressing. I'm pleased with the effort. The kids are getting better. We are trying to improve in small measurements by doing the little things. We just need something good to happen to get these kids to play with confidence.
''I want our team to go out on the field and expect to win, not just hoping we can.''
It could be a tall order again this week as the visiting Golden Bears started out with two straight victories before running into a road block thrown by undefeated Indian Creek in their latest outing. The Redskins took advantage of numerous Oak Glen mistakes to run away with a 41-9 triumph.
''We took one on the chin,'' Whittington said. ''We were outplayed and outcoached. They aren't world beaters like a Steubenville, but Indian Creek is a good, solid team.''
In their first two games, the Golden Bears featured a hard-to-stop running attack led by junior quarterback Vincent ''Bub'' Haddox, a football player for the first time since he was in middle school. Haddox has played well despite having some huge shoes to fill in replacing graduated standout Lucas McDowell, who led Oak Glen into the second round of the Class AA playoffs last fall.
Haddox has rushed for a shade less than 300 yards and scored two touchdowns, collecting 151 yards and two scores in a 37-28 victory against Edison. He followed that up with a 145-yard, four-touchdown outing as Oak Glen pounded Wellsville 45-0.
Last week, however, the QB was completely stymied as the Redskins line shut down Oak Glen and limited Haddox to a net of 7 yards on 14 carries. The hosts' only touchdown came late in the game with backups on the field when Cody Tropeck raced 86 yards to paydirt.
Whittington is hopeful that the return of Tyler Steed from an injury will help bolster Oak Glen's rushing game this week.
Up front, the Golden Bears main man is four-year standout Preston Murray (6-foot-1, 265 pounds), third in the voting last season for the Hunt Award given to West Virginia's top high school lineman.
Goodrich has been impressed with what he has seen on film of the Golden Bears.
''Very physical on both sides of the ball,'' he pointed out. ''That may be the best line we have faced. They are big and have nice speed. The game against Indian Creek was not as bad as it looked. Things kind of went against them and they could not recover.''
John Marshall did manage to put up 215 yards rushing against Buckeye Local, keyed by quarterback Jeremiah Fromhart's 84 yards on 20 carries. Fromhart, a senior first-year starter, scored the lone Monarchs touchdown when he sneaked across from the Panthers 1. Returning back R.J. Kibert picked up 47 yards on nine carries. Kibert also has provided some life to the JM run game.
Through the air, Fromhart completed seven of his 12 pass attempts for 63 yards but was picked off twice. Four of his completions went to Evan Magers for 42 yards.
''The last two weeks we moved the ball downfield but we haven't been able to finish drives,'' Goodrich noted