Marceline coach Mark Ross harbors no doubts after a game many Tiger fans feel that the gold-and-black should have handled more routinely.

On the road, Marceline defeated Scotland County 22-12 in the opening week of the season after a late first-half 50-yard field goal by senior Cullen Bruner put it up by just a point.

"Things were slow offensively, but our defense was outstanding on Friday," Ross said. "Our inexperience showed, but that's nothing major. We'll be better with each snap that our guys take.

"(Scotland County) came out a lot more physical than we thought they would, and we didn't think that we'd have so little time in the backfield. Things got better."

The Tigers still remain the seventh-ranked team in MSHSAA Class 1, and Ross has no reason to believe his team should have dropped.

Marceline missed some protections in the first half against Scotland County, but by the time the second half was underway, the Tigers had corrected their trench-work.

"It's a different pace with what we came in with, being so young," Ross said. "We had a lot of kids who didn't have a ton of experience in varsity games, but once we got them into the locker room at the end of the first half, they settled in. We found a way to win, but those simple things will come with those young guys."

Marceline hosts Knox County on Friday. The Eagles come to Marceline after waxing Schuyler County 40-0 in the first week of the season.

Knox County has a dynamite linebacker in Robert Mauck, and quarterback Conner Hayes is also capable of giving the Tigers issues.

Ross said that his team will have to clean some things up in order to handle the two of them, but the skipper believes this young Tiger group will be able to take care of business on Friday.

"Fortunately, I had the opportunity to go watch Knox's game on Saturday, so that definitely helped to prepare on Saturday," Ross said. "They're big, and they definitely have some talent. (Mauck) is one of the best players at the Class 1 level in the state, and we've got to put him in some tough situations. He's a contributor on offense as well, and they don't keep any of these things a secret."