SIOUX CITY - It was an Iowa high school football state record-breaking kind of a night on Thursday at Olsen Stadium.
Marshalltown made the long trek to Sioux City and put on a passing clinic that has never been before seen in state history.
The Bobcats (4-1) captured a 63-41 win over Sioux City East on the campus of Morningside College and broke the all-time Iowa record for passing yards in a game.
T-R PHOTO BY MARK PAWLAK
Marshalltown quarterback Blake Gimbel (14) releases a pass with Sioux City East’s Wyatt Mounts (83) bearing down on him during the first half of Thursday’s high school football game at Elwood Olsen Stadium on the Morningside College campus in Sioux City. Gimbel threw for a state-record 563 yards as the Bobcats improved to 4-1 with a 63-41 shootout victory over the host Black Raiders.
"It's how football is. The ball bounces funny, it's a crazy game and this was one of the craziest I've ever been in," said Marshalltown head coach Dave Holdiman.
"They've got a good ballclub," Holdiman added of East. "They've got some talent. Their talent came up and played well and so did ours. It was a good, old-fashioned offensive shootout."
Marshalltown junior quarterback Blake Gimbel finished the night 42-for-64 passing for 563 yards (unofficially) with five touchdowns and two interceptions. The previous individual Iowa record for passing yards in a game was 542 set by by D.J. Freesmeier of Central Lee in 2007. Central Lee also had the team single-game mark with 545 in that contest.
"When you're in the game, you're not thinking about it much," Gimbel said of the performance, "but when you look back at it, you just think let's go out and do it again."
Sioux City East (0-4) also runs a fast-past offense - there is no play clock at Olsen Stadium and neither team needed it - and the Black Raiders put 41 points on the board.
The two teams combined for 104 points and just under 1,100 yards of total offense.
"A game like this, it's a lot of fun out there," Gimbel said. "Everyone's doing their part and it was great to see we can go out there and complete what the coaches want us to do."
Six different Bobcats had receptions on the night and each of the five touchdown passes went to a different receiver. Ty Steffensen led Marshalltown with 13 catches for 160 yards. Tad Steffensen brought in 12 passes for 85 yards, Brandon Pettigrew six for 114, Dominick Osborne five for 76, Austin Hauser four for 51 and De'Quan McDowell two for 77. Ty Steffensen, Tad Steffensen, Pettigrew, Hauser and McDowell each had a receiving score.
Osborne finished with three rushing touchdowns on the night (1, 1 and 42 yards), while Tad Steffensen had a kickoff return score.
Gimbel's 42 completions were one short of the all-time Iowa mark of 43 set by Blaze Smith of Clear Creek-Amana in 2009.
The Bobcats needed the big offensive output to stay in front of the Black Raiders. East quarterback Alex Imming had three rushing touchdowns (90, 8 and 75 yards) and 196 yards. He also passed for 174 yards and three scores.
Marshalltown's defense created several turnovers on the night with Bennett Mann, Tyler Kluver and Kyle Carnahan each having interceptions. Mann and Kluver also had fumble recoveries.
The Bobcats forced the Black Raiders to go three-and-out to start the night and then scored on their first offensive snap. McDowell took a pass at the line of scrimmage from Gimbel and broke free down the sideline for a 74-yard touchdown.
Mann intercepted an Imming pass on the next possession, but MHS was forced to punt. East fumbled on the punt and Mann recovered. Osborne's 1-yard touchdown run put the Bobcats up 14-0 less than 5 minutes in.
Gimbel had just under 300 yards passing in the first half as MHS took a 28-13 lead into the break.
"East started getting into a blitz mode," Holdiman said, "playing man on us and we knew we could get by them. Our philosophy is put the ball where we've got a chance to score and Blake did a good job of doing that."
The offenses started getting crazy in the third quarter with a combined five touchdowns - four in a span of less than 3 minutes. East drew within 35-26, but Tad Steffensen's kickoff return touchdown put the Bobcats back up 16 at 42-26.
The Black Raiders answered on the first play from scrimmage with a 68-yard touchdown catch by Dom Thompson-Williams and used the 2-point conversion to make it an eight-point margin.
Three MHS trips to the end zone in the fourth quarter closed it out.
Tonight will mark the first of two straight Friday nights Marshalltown has off. The Bobcats have a bye in Week 5 of Iowa's high school football season and they return to action Sept. 30 as Waukee comes to Leonard Cole Field.
"We're going into a bye and this was a big win," Holdiman said. "Now we'll want to heal up and put some polish on our game."