AMES - It's not something you want to find out you can do, giving the ball away four times and surviving to win, but Marshalltown did it.
Having one of the top single-game passing performances in Iowa high school history will never hurt your effort to gain a victory against your rivals.
The Bobcats overcame four first-half turnovers to claim a 56-19 victory over Ames on Friday in CIML Iowa Conference football action.
T-R PHOTO BY MARK PAWLAK
Marshalltown wide receivers and brothers Tad (2) and Ty (1) Steffensen celebrate a Bobcat touchdown in front of Ames defender Ryan Griffith (8) during the first half of Friday’s CIML Iowa Conference football game at Ames High School. Tad Steffensen set a new Class 4A receiving record with 305 yards to go along with three touchdowns in Marshalltown’s 56-19 triumph over rival Ames. View additional photos and order prints online at timesrepublican.com, click on CU.
Once the offense got going, Tad Steffensen finished with 305 receiving yards and three touchdowns to help Marshalltown improve to 5-2 overall and 1-2 in league play.
The MHS defense rose to the challenge of defending short fields during the early going and got some big plays out of standout safety Kyle Carnahan to drop the Little Cyclones to 4-4 overall and 1-3 in conference.
The junior Tad Steffensen had plenty of room to roam on the field all night long in a game that took three hours to complete.
Tad Steffensen finished the night with 10 catches and his 305 yards set the Class 4A all-time receiving yards single game record. The old mark listed by the Iowa High School Athletic Association was 299 yards by Todd Blythe of Indianola in 2002. The 305 yards represent the third-highest total in state history across all classes.
"We started off slow, had a bunch of turnovers, dropped some balls," Tad Steffensen said, "but after that everything was good."
"That's almost as much as I had the whole season," he added of his record-breaking yardage total.
After a scoreless first quarter, the Bobcats went on to score eight touchdowns on the night and amass 698 yards of total offense.
Quarterback Blake Gimbel became the first player in Iowa high school history to have two 500-yard passing nights as he finished 26-for-38 for 520 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions.
"Tad's an animal, he's always getting open, everybody is getting open," Gimbel said. "Everybody just finds their way to the ball."
Friday was yet another huge night for the Steffensen brothers as older brother Ty had 11 receptions for 112 yards and added a rushing touchdown. Austin Hauser finished with 78 receiving yards and had several key blocks downfield to help create scores.
"Ty drew a lot of attention tonight and that opened things up for Tad. It was a great night for him, but it was exactly what Ames was giving to us," said Marshalltown head coach Dave Holdiman. "They chose to play man and a half a lot on No. 1 (Ty) so No. 2 (Tad) shook loose across the middle. He had one-on-ones and was able to use his speed and beat people."
Ames jumped out to a 6-0 lead after a pair of first-quarter field goals set up by Bobcat fumbles.
Marshalltown took the lead for good on Gimbel's 5-yard run early in the second quarter and had a 21-12 halftime margin after Tad Steffensen scored on 31 and 67 yard passes.
Tad Steffensen opened the second half with an 85-yard scoring strike from Gimbel and the Bobcats were at it again.
Marshalltown also got a big boost in the second quarter after Carnahan blocked an extra point to keep it a two-possession game, and then Carnahan got his second block of the night as he got to a 23-yard field goal attempt on the final play of the half.
"The defense just played terrific football tonight. They're a difficult team to defend," Holdiman said. "I thought our guys played very well and helped us to hang in there to overcome the turnovers we had in the first half."
Carnahan had nine solo tackles and four assists on the night. David Hughes returned an interception 38 yards for a score, while Ty Steffensen also had an interception.
"They were fantastic, laying hits, everything," Tad Steffensen said of the defense. "We had a whole bunch of turnovers today, but they kept us in it. They were pretty much the ones that won us this game."
Dominick Osborne rushed nine times for 96 yards with touchdown runs of 33 and 19 yards.
The 56 points represent the second-most ever scored by the Bobcats in the series, which had its 97th edition played Friday night. The win ended a seven-game CIML Iowa losing streak for Marshalltown.
"This win means a lot because we finally snapped our losing streak," Gimbel said. "First half we had some miscues on the offensive side and the defense was there to pick us up. We just had a lot of fun out there. Everyone played together as a team, we beat the adversity in the first half and went from there."
Ames quarterback Sam Straub finished 22-for-55 for 344 yards and two scores. Mike Mayberry (168) and Spencer Shane (138) both reached triple digits in receiving yards.
The two teams combined for 16 penalties on the night for 154 yards.
Marshalltown returns home to host Fort Dodge next Friday at Leonard Cole Field.
Friday's freshman game between the Bobcats and Little Cyclones saw host Ames win 63-28.