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Are you ready for some football?
July 31, 2013 - Andy Heintz
The summer seasons are over for the Times-Republican coverage area. That can only mean one thing for this sportswriter – time to get ready for some football. I will once again be on the Marshalltown football scene this season. I hope to pick up the pace so to speak with the beat, keeping readers informed about the ins and outs of the Bobcat gridders and new coach Aaron Shipley. I will start the season by running the schedule for the season, including last year’s results and who is back for the opponents.
Last Year: Blake Gimbel threw for 447 yards and four TDs against the Dutch and helped the Bobcats score their first win of the season. Tad Steffensen (185 yards) and De’Quan McDowell (165 yards) were the two biggest contributors at wide receiver as the Bobcats won 31-7.
2013: After going 7-4 last year, the Dutch will have to replace Josh De Waard at quarterback. De Waard threw for more than 1,200 yards and was the team’s third leading rusher. Pella also loses leading receiver Jacob Vollmar and leading tackler Christian Stafford but returns its top two rushers in sophomore Nathan Henry and senior Lukas Steenhoek as well as Bryce Bortscheller (26 catches) at wide receiver and Nathan Clayberg (74 tackles and two sacks) on defense.
Last Year: Gimbel threw for 314 yards and one score, but the Warriors’ 49-35 win at Leonard Cole Field dropped the Bobcats to under .500 for the second time in the season. Connor Ruddick did rush for 122 yards and two scores, but Waukee rolled of 14 straight points in the final quarter to win.
2013: Trevor Allen, who rushed for 210 yards and four scores in the 2012 win, returns as the Warriors’ primary ball carrier. Allen ran for 1,265 yards and 21 TDs last year for Waukee, which finished 8-3. A.J. Allen also had 473 rushing yards on offense as well as 44 tackles and eight sacks on defense.
vs. Fort Dodge
Last Year: The Bobcats started a five-game win streak after beating the Dodgers 52-15 last year in Fort Dodge. Gimbel threw for 422 yards and four scores in the win – and all four scores went to Steffensen, who had 10 catches for 179 yards in the victory. Tyler Kluver led the defense 12 tackles and two sacks.
2013: Fort Dodge quarterback Andrew Stover returns after compiling 2,002 passing yards and 14 touchdowns last year for the 3-7 Dodgers. The squad’s top five receivers all graduated but the top four rushers all return, including senior Devon Kirby and his 401 yards in 2012. Austin Halligan also returns to once again lead the defense.
Last Year: Gimbel threw for 390 yards and two scores and added three rushing touchdowns in helping the Bobcats rally past Ames on its Homecoming night. Brandon Pettigrew also had eight catches, 177 yards and a touchdown in the win. Ames led 13-3 after one quarter but the Bobcats rallied with a 21-7 advantage in the second half.
2013: Ames, which finished 5-5 last year, could be one of the favorites in its division this season as quarterback Sam Straub, running Clifford Kwaw-Mensah and wide receivers Alex Brammer and Spencer Shane all return to the squad. Straub was third in Class 4A last year with 2,632 yards and also had 23 TDs, while Kwaw-Mensah ran for 1,155 yards and 15 scores. Brammer and Shane combined to grab 95 catches and compile 1,433 yards as wide receivers.
Last Year: The Bobcats’ third straight win included a 193-yard receiving performance from Steffensen and a 344-yard, 4-touchdown night from Gimbel. The Bobcats had no trouble in the 49-7 win at Leonard Cole Field.
2013: Ottumwa is a tough place to play, but the Bulldogs (4-6 in 2012) graduated their quarterback, top three running backs and top three wide receivers. Senior Chris Peden does return on defense. He had a team-high 94 tackles and two sacks a season ago.
At Des Moines Hoover
Last Year: The Bobcats 61-7 win over the Huskies was their fourth straight as Gimbel threw five touchdown passes and McDowell and Dacoda Ewalt both eclipsed the 100-yard receiving mark in the win. Kluver also had 10 tackles and Connor Overstake contributed three sacks on defense.
2013: The Huskies won just one game last year. This year’s meeting will be in Des Moines, and Hoover returns junior quarterback Brock Larsen, who threw for 1,944 yards and 15 scores last year. Kalon Toliver and Colton Blackford were two of the top three receivers from last year who are also back. The defense also brings back its top five tacklers.
vs. Ankeny Centennial
Last Year: Did not play. This will be the Jaguars first year as a program, but Ankeny ended the town’s one high school community with a state championship and the Ankeny Hawks beat Marshalltown 49-14 and picked off Gimbel three times in the season opener.
2013: It is tough to know at this point which athletes will play for Centennial and which for Ankeny High School, but the Jaguars will be coached by long-time Ankeny coach Jerry Pizzetti. Centennial also has been ranked by a few high school football web sites as a top 5 team without yet having played a down as a program.
vs. Mason City
Last Year: Mason City went 1-8 last season and one of those losses was a 58-21 defeat to the Bobcats on the Mohawks’ home field. Gimbel threw for 488 yards and 7 TDs, McDowell hauled in eight catches for 228 yards and two scores and Kluver had nine tackles and two sacks to lead the defense. It was Marshalltown’s fifth straight win and essentially locked up a playoff deal.
2013: Mason City went 1-8 last year but returns its two top quarterbacks and its top tackler from last year. Austin Thoms had 91 tackles and two sacks to lead the defense while Billy O'Niell is the top returning rusher at 209 yards.
At Dowling Catholic
Last Year: In a battle for the division title, Dowling Catholic got 210 yards and three scores through the air from Nick Wilson and former Marshalltown native added 63 yards and a score on the ground during a 46-9 Maroon victory. Gimbel was held to a season-low 203 yards and one touchdown in the loss that ended the Bobcats’ five-game win streak. McDowell and Michael Schrempf had 15 and 11 tackles, respectively, to lead the MHS defense.
2013: The Maroons are loaded once again. Three quarterbacks who saw significant snaps last year return, including projected starter and Newton native Ryan Boyle. Dowell had 821 rushing yards last year and Rico Gafford transfers in from Des Moines East after compiling 717 receiving yards and five touchdowns along with seven interceptions and a 32.2 yards per kickoff return average. Jake Lewton (87 tackles) also returns to the defense.
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