On a windy Friday night last week in Ames, leaves ended up scattered all over one side of the football field.
It was also a night that Marshalltown senior safety Kyle Carnahan was able to leave his mark all over the field, just as he has done for three years now.
The leader in tackles and interceptions in the CIML Iowa Conference had several shoulder-pad popping hits, 13 total tackles and blocked two kicks in a 56-19 Bobcat rout.
T-R PHOTO BY MARK PAWLAK
Kyle Carnahan of Marshalltown (right) teams with Connor Overstake to bring down Allen Steward of Ames last Friday night. Carnahan is the leading tackler in the CIML Iowa Conference.
Marshalltown (5-2, 1-2) returns home tonight to face defending CIML Iowa Conference champion Fort Dodge (3-4, 2-1) and you can expect Carnahan to position himself around the football.
"He's got a wealth of experience and a lot of ability," said Marshalltown head coach Dave Holdiman. "You put those two together, you have an awful fine player."
Carnahan has five double-digit tackle games this season, led by 21 total tackles against Valley and then 19 against Waukee (14 solo tackles).
Carnahan's 91 tackles rank second-most in Class 4A this season. He also has four interceptions, two forced fumbles and four blocked kicks.
"It takes a lot of other guys doing their job for me to get tackles," Carnahan said.
"It's about knowing my responsibilities and playing off the other players," he added.
Carnahan was the leading tackler in the CIML Iowa last fall as he ended his junior season with 118 tackles in 10 games. He ended the year with 10 or more tackles in eight straight contests.
"Kyle's a guy that plays the pass very well and he reads his keys and fills on the run very well, that's why those tackle stats are way up there," Holdiman said. "He's an athlete that plays with his eyes and believes his eyes and is athletic enough to make plays. You just can't say enough about a guy like that and he's been there doing it for three years."
As a sophomore, Carnahan was moved up to the varsity and had 88 tackles, three interceptions and three fumble recoveries on Marshalltown's state runner-up team.
"He's an intelligent player that can tell the difference between run and pass pretty readily. That's really a key in the defensive secondary, especially at safety," Holdiman said. "He had those kind of traits then and some of them are hard to coach."
The blocked kicks - Carnahan also had two as a sophomore - create big swings in games because they virtually take points off the board.
"Blocking a kick gives us the momentum and drops down the other team's energy a lot," Carnahan said. "It's a big thing for us when we can do that."
The Bobcats went with a middle block against Ames and Carnahan got his hands on both an extra point and a field goal. The field-goal attempt was on the final play of the first half and denied the Little Cyclones a chance to closing within a touchdown of taking the lead.
Carnahan is in position to record his 300th career tackle tonight. He has 297 combined solo and assisted tackles to go with 10 career interceptions.
Marshalltown leads the all-time series against Fort Dodge, 23-18-1. The teams have alternated wins over the last four seasons with the Dodgers claiming a 38-17 win last year.
The Bobcats ended 2010 on a seven-game losing streak. They have visions of a much stronger showing in the final games of 2011.
"I think everybody working together is the main thing this year," Carnahan said. "The offense is playing great and when the defense plays together, then we have a really solid defense."