Marceline will have an interesting challenge in its senior night game on Friday, facing a Salisbury team that runs a spread offense. It will be the first time this season that the Tigers face an opponent quite so pass-heavy.
Salisbury enters the game with a 1-5 mark, and is coming off of its only victory of the season last week in a 21-0 toppling of Knox County. Prior to last Friday, the Panthers had allowed at least 20 points in each of its games.
The Panthers enter Friday night averaging 144 yards passing per game, and rushing for just 100.
Grant Biere, sophomore Salisbury quarterback, enters the game with a 54.8 completion percentage. Biere has thrown seven touchdowns to just three interceptions, and Marceline coach Mark Ross said that he is the biggest piece that makes the offense function.
"He'll probably be the best quarterback that we face this season," Ross admitted. "They have some guys that they like to get out into space, and they have some creative ways of getting the ball into the hands of their playmakers out of the spread."
Number 11, junior Jackson King, is Biere's favorite receiver by far. King enters Friday night with 83 yards receiving per game on 30 receptions. Sophomore Preston Stewart and freshman Daniel White have reeled in 15 passes apiece.
Offensively, the Panthers have had a tough time getting the ball into the endzone. Before last Friday, Salisbury had scored 40 total points in its four prior games while allowing fewer than 28 points just once. Defensively, the Panthers base out of a 4-4 but set a quicker edge by putting five or six guys on the line of scrimmage.
"There are different challenges that we have to prepare for this week, and no doubt Salisbury will be ready after getting a win last week," Ross said. "We do a lot of things that make it tough on offenses in terms of applying pressure and creating bad situations, but the pressure we bring will take the heat off of our secondary. That's stuff that we've been working on since the summer, but we don't have a lot of chances to showcase some of that stuff because we don't face many spread teams. We're excited for that challenge.
"Our boys will be fired up and ready to go, especially with it being senior night."