Isaiah Huber was sure about one thing Friday night. It was that John Marshall would show up against his Century football team.
He cast aside the fact that the Rockets had struggled mightily their first two games, losing by a combined 97-28.
Huber knows these guys.
"I grew up with a lot of them," Huber said. "I knew they'd play well. I knew they'd be physical."
Huber was right on. That good, physical stuff lasted all of the first half, with the Rockets' crisp tackling and continuous penetration by their defensive line sticking out most.
But it didn't last. That's because Century, dotted with a handful of ultra-skilled athletes, didn't let it last. And because Century has plenty of physical players of its own who especially played like it after intermission.
"They wore us out," JM coach Kevin Kirkeby said.
With it, Century rose to 2-1 in the Big Southeast Red Division and overall, notching a 34-7 win at JM's John Drews Field. JM stayed winless, slipping to 0-2 in the Red Division and 0-3 overall.
"JM was good; they were good up front," Huber said of the Rockets. "But some of our slow start was on us because we making too many mistakes."
After beginning the game with three straight 3-and-outs on offense, Century started clicking with about 2 minutes left in the first quarter. It began with Huber — who'd turned the ball over on a muffed punt return just before — immediately righting himself by picking off a JM pass. Seven plays later, Century was in the end zone, Huber finishing off the drive with a 2-yard TD run. It was one of his three touchdown runs, the others from 17 and 6 yards.
JM answered with a 64-yard touchdown drive of its own, the big play a 43-yard run by Braden Black on fourth down. But it would be the Rockets' only offensive answer of the night.
Century's defense was too much the rest of the way. A big piece of that was the play of its secondary, led by another one of those super-skilled guys, Jack Fisher. Fisher batted down a handful of passes against JM, one of them in the end zone. Those Century coverage skills resulted in JM having a nightmare of a time passing the ball. It finished just 3-for-19 through the air. It also squandered a pair of chances on deep throws, with a receiver open for a likely touchdown both times in the first half. But both of those JM throws were long.
Fisher also showed off his offensive skills, with 10 catches for 122 yards and a touchdown.
"My quarterback (Nathan Eberhart) made great throws to me where I could jump up and get it," Fisher said.
Fisher agreed with Huber that this game with JM would not be easy.
"I'm not at all surprised that it was a tough game," Fisher said. "I told our guys that it would be tough. It's not at all surprising when you're talking about a cross-town rivalry."
Though Century's winning margin turned out to be 27 points, JM coach Kirkeby said the contest was a step in the right direction for his team. His players felt the same way.
"We made strides tonight," JM two-way lineman Deontae Veney said. "We wanted to be more physical and we were today. Our team brought energy right away."
Century 34, JM 7
Century 0 14 13 7 — 34
John Marshall 0 7 0 0 — 7
C -- Isaiah Huber 2 run (kick failed), 10:55.
JM -- Parker Navistsky 11 run (Navitsky kick), 6:53
C -- Jack Fisher 33 pass from Nathan Eberhart (Fisher pass from Eberhart), 5:07.
C -- Huber 17 run (kick failed), 6:21.
C -- Huber 6 run (Riley Leif kick), 2:07.
C — Cole Ebling 18 run (Leif kick), 6:16.
Total net yards 262 177
Rushes-yards 20-87 28-135
Passing yards 175 42
Comp.-att.-int. 14-23-2 3-19-1
First down 12 7
Penalties-yds. 8-65 4-40
Fumbles-lost 1-1 4-2
Punts-avg. 5-36.4 6-23.3
Century — Isaiah Huber 13-68, Nathan Eberhart 4-9, Jack Fisher 1-1, Jack Cambern 1-3, Owen Merges 1-6, Cole Ebling 2-20. John Marshall — Braden Black 6-57, Parker Navitsky 16-78, Cole Peterson 6-0.
Century — Nathan Eberhart 8 completions, 16 attempts, 2 interceptions, 1 touchdowns, 95 yards; Ethan Dixon 1-1-0-0 33; Matthew Haun 5-6-0-0 for 47 yards. John Marshall — Cole Peterson 2-15-0-0 for 38 yards; Navitsky 1-4-1-0 for 4 yards.
Century — Jack Fisher 10-122, Mark Leonard 1-17, Ethan Dixon 3-36, Donaven Johnson 1-9, Zach Man 1-14, Cambern 1-4, Merges 1-3. John Marshall — Jacob Welp 1-4, Drew Yochim 1-26, Jack Ward 1-12.