Marshalltown was able to take the ball away and then take the ball into the end zone time after time on Friday at Leonard Cole Field.
The Bobcats celebrated Senior Night with a 42-7 victory over Mason City in CIML Iowa Conference football. Marshalltown will take its 7-2 record into the Class 4A state playoffs where the Bobcats will host Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln (5-4) on Wednesday at 7 p.m.
"We haven't had a lot of those around here," MHS head coach Dave Holdiman said of the team's seven-win regular season. "We had one in '07 and we had the big one in '09. Every group is different and this was one of our goals. We achieved it and now we get to go on to the postseason riding the crest of that wave."
T-R PHOTO BY MARK PAWLAK
Marshalltown’s Tad Steffensen (2) scampers up the sideline on a kickoff return during the fourth quarter of Friday’s CIML Iowa Conference football game at Leonard Cole Field. The Bobcats picked up a 42-7 victory over Mason Ckity on Senior Night to secure a home game in next week’s Class 4A playoffs.
The Marshalltown defense created four turnovers on the night and their ability to take the ball away set up the offense with short fields. The Bobcats (3-2 in the CIML Iowa) were able to take seven points at a time after those turnovers by the Mohawks (2-7, 0-5) as MHS scored touchdowns on five of its final six possessions of the first half to put the game out of reach.
Over the last three games, Marshalltown has held its opponents to an average of opponents to an average of 13.3 points per game, which is plenty of room to work with for the Bobcats' potent offense.
"These past three games it's been pretty good, before that our defense wasn't doing that good and that's what cost us a couple games," said junior defensive lineman Pedro Gomez. "After that we realized we had to step it up."
CLASS 4A PLAYOFFS
Ottumwa at West Des Moines Valley
Johnston at Urbandale
Ames vs. Dowling Catholic, at Williams Stadium, Des Moines
Des Moines East at Des Moines Lincoln
Sioux City North at Southeast Polk
Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln at Marshalltown
Sioux City East at Waukee
Fort Dodge at Ankeny
Clinton at Linn-Mar
Cedar Rapids Washington at Davenport Assumption
Cedar Rapids Kennedy at Iowa City High
Muscatine at Cedar Falls, at UNI-Dome, 8:45 p.m.
Waterloo East at North Scott
Dubuque Wahlert at Iowa City West
Cedar Rapids Xavier at Pleasant Valley
Davenport Central at Bettendorf
Gomez finished the night with two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, half a sack and nine total tackles. Kyle Carnahan had 15 tackles and a forced fumble, while Derek Mann had 11 tackles.
Bennett Mann added a interception and fumble recovery. Austin Butcher recorded 1.5 sacks.
Mason City was limited to 168 yards of total offense on the night.
"We've got a three-game winning streak and in large measure it's because our defense has played exceptionally well all three weeks," Holdiman said.
Marshalltown quarterback Blake Gimbel threw the first of his four touchdown passes on the night 4 minutes into the contest with a 7-yard strike to senior Connor Bueghly. The Bobcats got two more scores in the quarter after turnovers with Gimbel scoring on 1-yard and 3-yard runs.
Seniors Ty Steffensen (30 yards) and Austin Hauser (39 yards) had scoring receptions in the second quarter as MHS built a 35-0 halftime lead.
"We got the ball in seniors' hands on Senior Night, we were real pleased with that," Holdiman said. "Blake did a good job of distributing the ball."
"There was a punt on our first possession and after that we hit on five of the next six for touchdowns in the first half. Then we hit one out of two in the second half," Holdiman added. "Those are pretty good numbers. There's still room for improvement but our philosophy of converting possessions to scores is something we're much more pleased with this week."
Gimbel finished the night 23-for-34 passing for 332 yards with the four scores and an interception. Ty Steffensen hauled in seven passes for 67 yards, Tad Steffensen had five catches for 121 yards and a 53-yard touchdown, Hauser added four receptions for 87 yards and Dominick Osborne had five grabs for 50 yards. Osborne also rushed for 67 yards on 11 attempts.
Sam Skogen led Mason City with 61 rushing yards on 18 carries. The Mohawks did not have a play go for more than 10 yards until both team's starters were out of the game with 5 minutes left in the fourth quarter. Mason City also did not advance inside the MHS 20-yard line.
The victory now gives Marshalltown the advantage in the all-time series with Mason City, 23-22-2.