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Football Lookahead: Morgantown’s Bowers Says It’s a Matter of Time for JM

October 24, 2013
By SHAWN RINE , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

John Marshall hasn't had a home game since Sept. 13 but returns to Monarch Stadium on Friday night to entertain powerful Morgantown. Not exactly the type of team you want to see on your schedule as the Homecoming date.

The Monarchs insist, however, they will show up for the dance.

Coming off a 38-9 loss to a big, strong University team, the Monarchs (3-4) are out of the frying pan and into the fire this week against a club that Coach Rick Goodrich says doesn't have a weakness.

''They're a mirror image of us. They'll run power and they'll run waggle,'' Goodrich said. ''The difference is, they have guys that are bigger, faster and stronger.

''But all I ask of our kids is to play hard, and they will. If the guy across from you is bigger, stronger and faster, there's nothing you can do.''

That was the case against the Hawks, who have a senior-dominated defense that held JM running back Trevor Hardesty to 40 yards on 20 carries. John Marshall had seven sophomores on the field offensively for the majority of the game.

''You look up and down their roster and they are a very young team,'' Mohigans (7-1) coach John Bowers said. ''Goody has a very distinct system that's very well sequenced and very well conceived. A lot of times when I watch films of teams I will say 'why are they doing that?' That's not the case with John Marshall.

''They are very young, but he's going to have himself a power house here directly.''

The Monarchs might be catching a bit of a break. Chazzy Thomas, the Mohigans' Kennedy Award frontrunning back who has already surpassed 2,000 yards on the season, was injured in last week's 44-20 victory against Musselman and may not play against the Monarchs.

''He's OK. He's nursing a little bit of an ankle injury,'' Bowers said. ''He's questionable for Friday and will be evaluated as the week goes along.''

The problem is, Morgantown's gigantic offensive and defensive lines will play. That's an obvious concern for Goodrich, whose team had a tough time with University's front seven that is big, but not nearly the size of the Mohigans.

''John Marshall's O-line had a hard time handling U-High's down line,'' Bowers pointed out. ''Their defensive ends made a lot of plays.

''Once Hardesty got to the linebacker level or better, he had some success.''

The score may not indicate as much, but Goodrich was pleased with how the Monarchs played after getting blitzed in the first five minutes last week, digging a 21-0 hole.

''I don't know if we were awestruck or what, but after that we stood toe-to-toe with them,'' Goodrich said. ''We could have packed in the tent but we were able to move the ball.

''They had their starters in ... they didn't clear the bench until late in the game.''

Bowers is aware this is a game his team should win, so that naturally illicits a bit of concern. He said the Mohigans had their worst two weeks of practice heading into a big showdown with Wheeling Park, admitting he thought ''we were going to get licked'' by the Patriots.

''Here the last couple weeks practice has been much better,'' he said. ''I'm a big process guy ... you've got to go through the process, and that means at practice.

''You can't just expect the product to be good on Friday nights.''

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