The sight of Waukee quarterback Cole Pederson keeping the ball and navigating his way deep down the field occurred time after time Friday night at Leonard Cole Field.
With Pederson along with running back Jordan O'Daye stealing the show, the Warriors ran their way to a 50-28 victory over Marshalltown in CIML Iowa Conference football action.
Pederson finished the night with 178 rushing yards and five touchdowns, while O'Daye had 175 yards and a score to send Waukee to 4-2 overall and 2-0 in conference play.
T-R PHOTO BY MARK PAWLAK
Waukee quarterback Cole Pederson (9) tries to evade Marshalltown defensive lineman Pedro Gomez behind the line of scrimmage during Friday’s CIML Iowa Conference football game at Leonard Cole Field. Pederson rushed for 178 yards and five touchdowns in Waukee’s 50-28 victory.
The Bobcats, which were coming off a bye week, drop to 4-2 on the season and 0-2 in the CIML after the Homecoming loss.
"We played like a team that hadn't played for two weeks, plain and simple," said Marshalltown head coach Dave Holdiman. "We never got out of low gear, so to speak, attitude-wise and intensity-wise.
"You've got to give Waukee credit, they played very well. We didn't have an answer for Cole Pederson. He made us pay with his feet, he was outstanding today."
All five of the Warriors' first-half possessions went for touchdowns as the visitors dropped the Bobcats in a 36-14 hole. Both teams scored 14 points in the second half for the final margin.
Marshalltown senior slotback Ty Steffensen had his sixth straight game of 100 receiving yards and a touchdown with his 11-catch, 131-yard, two-touchdown night.
Quarterback Blake Gimbel finished 23-for-44 passing for 311 yards and three touchdowns. The junior has three or more passing scores in each game this season. Brandon Pettigrew had a 36-yard touchdown catch for the Bobcats, while Dominick Osborne had a 1-yard touchdown run.
Safety Kyle Carnahan had another monster night for the MHS defense as he finished with 14 solo and six assisted tackles.
Marshalltown's offense had trouble finding a rhythm with a handful of misconnections in the passing game as well as pressure on Gimbel. Meanwhile Waukee's running game was motoring along to gain 454 yards on 62 carries. Pederson averaged 8.5 yards per attempt and O'Daye 7.3. Nate Lucs added 61 yards and A.J. Allen 47.
"(Waukee) controlled the line of scrimmage and converted a couple of third and longs with the passing game," Holdiman said. "They were able to run the running backs and then the quarterback. Pederson, in particular, made some big plays for them on third down.
"They did a good job of executing their offense and putting him in a position to make plays for them."
An 18-yard touchdown catch by Steffensen tied the game in the first quarter for MHS, 7-7, answering a 44-yard touchdown run by Pederson.
Waukee had the next three trips of the 11 visits to the end zone on the night to jump ahead 29-7. Pettigrew's touchdown catch in the final minute of the half looked to give the Bobcats momentum, yet the Warriors were able to answer before the intermission on a Pederson run for the 36-14 halftime margin.
Two missed fourth-down conversion attempts in the third quarter, one after the ball was re-spotted and another after a Bobcat receiver was redirected by a Warrior defender when the ball was in the air, denied Marshalltown's attempt to claw back into it.
"We really didn't handle that adversity well and we've got to do a better job of that," Holdiman said.
Friday marked the first time in the MHS-Waukee series that the visiting team had won.
The Bobcats travel to Ames (4-3, 1-2) next Friday night.