One of the toughest tests Marion-Franklin faces in the City League-South Division traditionally comes against Walnut Ridge.

One of the toughest tests Marion-Franklin faces in the City League-South Division traditionally comes against Walnut Ridge.

The Red Devils, who have won seven consecutive league titles and play host to the Scots on Friday, Sept. 30, lost to Walnut Ridge 21-14 in 2009. Last season on the way to a 10-0 regular season, the Red Devils beat the Scots 35-6.

Marion-Franklin improved to 5-0 overall and 2-0 in league play by beating Independence 54-30 on Sept. 23. That same night, Walnut Ridge improved to 2-3 and 2-0 with a 53-0 victory over Columbus South.

Scots coach Byron Mattox believes his team is much better than its record indicates.

During the non-league portion of its schedule, Walnut Ridge got blown out by Cleveland Heights (54-0 on Aug. 26) and Hilliard Davidson (43-7 on Sept. 9), but both teams were among the top five in their respective Division I regions in computer points last week. The Scots' other loss was to Urbana (14-6 on Sept. 2).

"We played possibly the two best teams in the state, so we know it's not going to get any tougher than that," Mattox said. "With our non-league schedule, we wanted to focus on having the league schedule being a new season. I think our league is doing well, and we're excited to get to this stage of the season."

Scots senior quarterback Fred Hardgrove saw his first action of the season against South after missing the first four games for unspecified reasons. He rushed for one touchdown and passed for three against the Bulldogs.

Senior tight end Kai Turner also has been among the standouts, according to Mattox.

The Red Devils have been led by quarterback Corry Benson and wide receivers Joe Alverson and Darien Williams on offense. Benson passed for 329 yards and six touchdowns against the 76ers.

Terrell Jackson leads a Marion-Franklin defense that has allowed an average of 24.2 points a game. Of the 30 points the Red Devils allowed against Independence, however, 24 came in the fourth quarter after they took a 36-6 lead.