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MHS preparing for visit from defending league champs

October 14, 2011
By MARK PAWLAK - T-R Asst. Sports Editor ( , Times-Republican

Marshalltown had to contend with an Ames squad last Friday that was second in Class 4A in passes attempted.

The Bobcat defense was up to the challenge and the offense ran up and down the field for a 56-19 win.

Now Marshalltown will be lining up across from 4A's No. 2 passing offense, the defending CIML Iowa Conference champion Fort Dodge, tonight at Leonard Cole Field.

The Bobcats are making a push to improve their playoff standing and performing well at home will go a long way in that attempt. MHS also has its regular season finale at home on Oct. 21 against Mason City.

The defense stepped up to the task against Ames and helped the Bobcats overcome a slow offensive start. Kyle Carnahan had a team-high 13 total tackles, while David Hughes and Ty Steffensen both had an interception.

"The defense came out like a house afire," said Marshalltown head coach Dave Holdiman. "They kept us in the ballgame while we were able to overcome the mistakes the offense made putting the ball on the ground. Hats off to the defense, they really prevented Ames from getting a lead and stretching it out on us."

Fact Box

Fort Dodge (3-4, 2-1)

at Marshalltown (5-2, 1-2)

Friday, 7:30 p.m.

At Leonard Cole Field

Fort Dodge (3-4, 2-1) has 1,626 passing yards this season, trailing only the Bobcats' 2,800 in Class 4A.

Quarterback Sam Edwards has 1,618 of those yards for the Dodgers and 12 touchdowns. He set a single-game school record with 354 yards in the season opener. The top target has been Isaac Lehman - 42 receptions for 744 yards and eight scores.

"They present a balanced attack in that they have a quarterback that can throw it and they like to run the ball."

"They also do a lot of shifting," Holdiman added. "They give you one look offensively and then they shift and it's a totally different look so there's some recognition issues to adjust to. You've got to get lined up correctly, then you have to execute the defense and make a tackle."

Marshalltown is coming off a 520-yard passing performance in its rout of Ames. The 500-yard night is the third in program history for the Bobcats.

Tad Steffensen recorded the majority of the yardage from quarterback Blake Gimbel as the junior had 305 receiving yards to set a 4A single-game record on his 10 catches. Ty Steffensen had his seventh straight 100-yard receiving game with 11 receptions for 112 yards.

"You don't know how they are going to choose to cover people. Ames chose to play man-and-a-half a lot on Ty and that gave Tad an opportunity to use his speed and separate from the defenders," Holdiman said.

"We'll keep doing what we do, but you never really know," Holdiman added of how teams defend the Bobcats. "Some teams come out and show us things we haven't seen before so we've got to be able to adapt, adjust on the run. We've got a group of kids that are able to do that."

Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. tonight at Leonard Cole Field. There is no underclassmen game and the gates will open at 6:30 p.m.