Marceline hosts a 2-2 Paris team for homecoming this Friday. Paris enters the game having done, to this point, what it has done both of the past two years: defeat Harrisburg and Salisbury to begin the season then lose.
That being said, Marceline head coach Mark Ross believes that coming off of a 14-12 loss at home to Knox County last week, this Paris group may have more going for it than in years past.
"This is one of those games where we're just focusing on us and what we have to do," Ross said. "When you look across at Paris, they've got some good size, and they have some big guys who can get out into space. Their quarterback has a strong arm (Clayton Langerud, 6-foot-2, 200 pounds), and he can definitely throw it around."
In the past two games, the Coyotes have passed the ball on 60 percent of their plays, partially as a product of playing from behind for so much of the game versus Scotland County in a 54-26 loss.
On the season, Langerud has completed 52 of his 106 attempts for 752 yards. He has thrown nine touchdowns compared to just a pair of interceptions.
His favorite target, number 17 Reese Barton, enters the game with 19 receptions for 264 yards and four scores. The junior has also tallied seven carries, end-arounds being something that will put the Tigers on the lookout.
Number 1, Alex Green, is second on the team in receiving with 11 catches for 193 yards and a trio of touchdowns.
Defensively, senior middle linebacker Ethan Redington has already amassed impressive numbers. Redington has recorded 59 tackles (16 solo) already this season, and next to him, Kaison Berrey, also a senior, has amassed 39 (16 solo).
Berrey is the Coyotes' preferred rushing option. He enters Friday with 74 carries for 353 yards.
"Our big bug has been up front all year, but we've just got to get back to the basics in the downhill stuff," Ross said. "They're big and they have some athleticism, but they're not that fast. In all honesty, they'll be the biggest team across the board that we've faced this year, but we think we'll have a chance to get it rolling just by running past these guys.
"We're trying to make sure the boys are focused on the game, but they're excited with it being a big week. They see this game as just another big opportunity ahead of them."