Moments after Marshall’s 26-7 homecoming win over the Mount Pleasant Tigers, the Marshall News Messenger caught up with the Mavericks’ head coach Jake Griedl to discuss the win and the week ahead.
MNM: How big of a confidence booster was that win?
JG: Yeah we definitely needed that win. I thought our defense was lights out. If our defense continues to get better and better like we think they can and like they showed tonight, then that’s really going to help us. Then offensively, we did some good things. A’Derrian Brooks had another big game and Dede (Williams) coming back and having some good things happen, Brent (Burris) making some plays and everyone did what we needed them to do. The fun is in the winning. It’s been a rough few weeks in terms of grinding, grinding, grinding, hoping that win comes, tonight we got it and we had a lot of fun doing it and a lot of kids made huge contributions to get it done so I was really proud of how they played.
MNM: It seemed like it was closer than what the score showed, did you get that sense?
JG: Yeah their defense is really good. Their defensive line is one of the better ones we’ve seen all year, 99 (Trey Emory), we talked about him throughout the week and he’s only a junior. Their defense is really, really talented. No. 14 (Ed Wilder), their corner out there, he’s probably the best corner we’ve played all year. He’s a special kid. They did some really good things. We had some hiccups on offense but luckily our defense played well. If we don’t give up a huge fourth-down long ball, we were in great position but a kid just made a better play, a one-handed catch, if we don’t give up that play, we probably blank them and they don’t get in the end zone but I’m so proud of how our kids play and how everyone did their job.
MNM: How bad did you want that shutout?
JG: Yeah you always want that, especially for the defensive coaches and for our kids. Again, our defense played really well.
MNM: If you had to pick a player of the game, who would you say?
JG: Man, one kid who keeps coming up on offense is A’Derrian Brooks. He’s a kid who practices so hard and comes out every day with a good attitude, works his tail off and then goes out and makes plays on offense, big plays on offense and turns around and makes plays on defense, big plays on defense. He’s a kid who right off the page jumps off. I thought Ryan Manning, one of our outside linebackers, he did some good things on defense and then he comes in on offense and gets our last touchdown, which was a huge deal for him with some of the things he had going on this week. So I was really proud of him that he got that done. I think our defensive unit as a whole played really well. We made plays when we needed to make plays. There are going to be things we need to correct but that’s with anything. Winning hasn’t come easy, so when we win, and wins are hard to come by, we’re going to enjoy it. We’re going to enjoy it tonight, we’re going to fix it tomorrow and we’re going to move on. Hallsville has officially announced a forfeit. So we will not play next Friday. We’ll get that win and now we’re looking at us as a 5-4 football team, 3-3 in district and it comes down to us and Nac for that fourth-place spot. We’ve got to win to get in.
MNM: What’s the main thing you’ll be working on to improve this week?
JG: There are little things we’ve got to do, just simple execution things on both sides but a lot of what we’ll be working on this week will be based on what we see on film once we start prepping for Nac.
MNM: Is it a plus that Hallsville forfeited to give you time to rest up for Nac?
JG: I don’t know if it’s a plus or minus. I know this – we’re going to work our tails off for three days next week and then we’re going to give our kids Wednesday afternoon off and Thursday, Friday and Saturday so they can go enjoy Thanksgiving. As crazy as 2020 has been and as easy as it is to complain about a lot of things, we’re also extremely blessed and have a lot to be thankful and grateful for. We were looking forward to the Hallsville game but now that that game is off the table, we want to take a breath and reflect and be grateful for the moments we do have with family and gear up again and get after it the next week and try to fire away in the playoffs.