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Marshalltown at Ankeny -- What To Watch For

August 17, 2012 - Andy Heintz
The high school football season begins for several teams around the state and a handful of teams in our coverage area.

One of the featured games this weekend for our area is a Class 4A battle between Marshalltown and Ankeny. The Hawks went 11-2 last year, advancing all the way to the state semifinals where they lost to eventual champion West Des Moines Valley.

Here are five things to watch for tonight as the Bobcats try to score an upset over Class 4A No. 3 Ankeny.

1. How will Marshalltown attack Ankeny's defense? Bobcat head coach David Holdiman said the Marshalltown offense is the same every year but how it attacks teams varies based on what they see on the field. Ankeny lost eight of its nine top tacklers from last season so it will be interesting to see how Holdiman attacks players he is pretty unfamiliar with.

2. On the flip side, Ankeny's offense is known for a power running attack out the Wing T set. Marshalltown returns several starters in the front seven but is very inexperienced at the back end of its defense. Does that mean Iowa State-bound Joel Lanning will get a chance to show off his arm or will long-time Ankeny coach Jerry Pezzetti continue a long-running tradition of the ground and pound?

3. If you are a fan of offense, you will like this game. Both teams have large question marks on defense so we may see a game in the 30s or 40s tonight. The key to the game may be which defense establishes themselves and can get a few stops here and there.

4. I am going to be watching Blake Gimbel and Lanning. For one, I have not seen either play in person. Two, they are two of the best quarterbacks in the state. And three, Lanning recently accepted a scholarship to play at Iowa State. Gimbel has his sights set on a Division I offer. Will he make it a point to out-play his counterpart knowing he is every bit as good as Lanning?

5. I am going to be focusing a lot of Marshalltown's defense. The offense always seems to be great under Holidman, but when the Bobcats have been really good they have had a strong defense. If the defense can hold their own against an always-tough Ankeny team, then the Bobcats may be in for another special season on the gridiron.

Kickoff from Ankeny is set for 7 p.m. For live updates, follow me on Twitter @THydeTR.


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