The Marshall Statesmen have set the bar high and accomplished a lot in recent football seasons as far as victories and regularly challenging and sometimes winning district championships.
The high-school team is expecting more of the same this fall when it opens at home on Friday, Aug. 30 at 7 p.m. against the Madison Warhawks. Marshall finished 8-3, second in the National District and was 0-1 in the region playoffs in 2018.
Second-year Marshall coach Jason Strickland said team goals in 2019 are to win back the district crown (second last year), win at least nine games and advance in the region playoffs.
“I think those goals are realistic,” Strickland said.
Helping the Statesmen is the return of standout brothers Andrew and Patrick Margiotta. Patrick, a junior, returns as the starting quarterback and Andrew will play multiple positions on offense and be a roving safety on defense.
With the two brothers and a season under their belts running Strickland’s offense, the coach believes that unit has the potential to improve its production, both running and passing.
Thomas Burke returns on offense as a wide receiver and tight end, Ryan Haggerty is back as a wide receiver, Matthew Shutello as a running back, and experienced linemen are Javier Sorto-Argueta, John Ozkan and Michael Circo. Ethan Chang is back as the place-kicker and punter, and one of the best in the area.
Chang also is a safety on defense, a unit hit hard by graduation.
“We have a lot to replace on defense. But our players are smart and the guys on defense are improving,” Strickland said.
Some other top players on defense are expected to be linebacker Landon LaFleur, middle linebacker Ben Langkau, defensive backs Kailen Jordan and Brogan Lee-Pawlak and linebackers Brendan and Austin Campbell.
SCHEDULE: Friday, Aug. 30 vs. Madison, 7 p.m.; Friday, Sept. 6 at McLean, 7; Friday, Sept. 20 at West Potomac, 7; Friday, Sept. 27 at Lake Braddock, 7; Friday, Oct. 4 vs. Herndon, 7; Friday, Oct. 11 at Falls Church, 7; Friday, Oct. 18 vs. Justice, 7; Friday, Oct. 25 vs. Lee, 7; Friday, Nov. 1 vs. Jefferson, 7; Friday, Nov. 8 at Wakefield, 7.