Friday's annual classic at Chester Ray Stadium will be the second consecutive season in which the Brookfield and Marceline coaches have just one combined year of Bell Game experience under their belts.

Brookfield coach Scott Stevens lost last season's game at home, and rookie Marceline ringleader Mark Ross is seeking the Tigers' third consecutive Bell Game victory.

Both coaches, by and large, have been able to keep all of the pomp and festivity peripheral while they get their respective teams prepped for the game itself.

The teams carry inverse records into the game, with Marceline sitting at 2-0 with a couple of blowouts and Brookfield sitting at 0-2 after a pair of slim losses. However, Brookfield's defense should prove to be the first real litmus test for the Marceline offense this season.

"They've got some great athletes, and we need to make some of those guys uncomfortable," Ross said. "They fly around, and they're physical. We've got to get out and go, and that's one advantage of having some smaller offensive lineman. We've got to keep them in conflict and make them make the wrong decision. We've got to protect the quarterback and make some plays.

"They've done some good things offensively that don't show up on the scoreboard, and they've been in position to win both of their games. We've got to stay assignment sound and we'll be just fine."

In Brookfield's season opener, Palmyra did some similar things that Marceline will look to do on Friday, such as forcing defenders out into space and spreading the field.

Brookfield's game against Monroe City last week featured a radically different offense that operated exclusively out of the wing-T and forced the Bulldogs to jam the box.

Brookfield's ability to change defensive schemes on the fly -- the Bulldogs operated under four different defensive philosophies last week -- should prove to be an advantage against Marceline's intricate offense.

Needless to say, the Bulldogs need to crack the scoreboard in order to win the football game.

"Obviously, offensively, we have some things we need to improve on, but our offensive line took a tremendous step forward from week one to week two," Stevens said. "To be honest, I felt like some of our skill guys took a step back. If we can put both of those things together, we'll be fine offensively. We've just got to figure out how to score at the goal line, and that's what we need to get over the hump to have success.

"We feel like we're really battle tested, having played two of the best teams in Class 2. We need to bring the Bell back to where it's supposed to be: Brookfield, Missouri."