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Keys for tonight's MHS Homecoming game

September 20, 2013 - Andy Heintz
The Marshalltown Bobcats are 0-3 for the first time since 2006.

And if they want to avoid going to 0-4, it will take more than a strong effort against eighth-ranked Ames.

The good news is that it's Homecoming. Teams usually find a little more motivation for this game. And the inexperienced Bobcats are hungry get into the win column.

Here are a few keys to a win for the Bobcats.

Better run defense

The Bobcats have struggled to stop the opposition's run game. Things won't get easier tonight as the Class 4A's leading rusher Clifford Kwaw-Mensah steps onto Leonard Cole Field. The Bobcat defense -- led by Homecoming King Derek Mann -- will need to have heavy pursuit to the ball and tackle as a team. Kwaw-Mensah is not as big as Waukee junior Trevor Allen, but he is faster. So staying in proper tackling lanes and wrapping up when you arrive to the ball will be the obstacles for the Bobcats.

Locate Alex Brammer

The Little Cyclones have the top passer in Class 4A in Sam Straub, the top receiver in 4A in Alex Brammer as well as the top rusher in Kwaw-Mensah.

It will be hard to stop every single weapon on the field. Ames has scored at least 34 points in its first three games. One big step toward slowing down the Little Cyclones will be to make someone else beat you in the passing game. It is no secret that Straub will be looking Brammer's way early and often. If the Bobcats have miscommunication issues in the secondary and blown assignments back there, it could be a long night for the defense.

Free Dylan Diveney

The fastest Bobcat by far is quarterback Dylan Diveney. But the inexperienced offensive line has yet to provide the former all-state wide receiver with running lanes. If the Bobcats can get Diveney in the open field, the Little Cyclones' defense is ripe for the taking. They have allowed at least 20 points in all three wins this year. Marshalltown though has scored only 32 points in its three losses. Something has got to give tonight, and the Bobcats are hoping the offense has a breakout performance.

Cut down on penalties

Last week's loss to Fort Dodge was mirrored with penalties on both sides of the field. If the Bobcats want to upset Ames and hand the Little Cyclones their first loss of the season, they must play more discipline on both sides of the ball. They can't give up extra downs and extra yards to one of the most talented offensive teams in the state. On the flip side, a struggling offense can't hurt themselves against what seems to be a vulnerable Ames defense.


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