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Top QBs one of the intriguing matchups for Bobcats-Rams

October 31, 2011
By MARK PAWLAK - T-R Asst. Sports Editor ( , Times-Republican

The time they will be sharing the field tonight will be short, but the impact they have on their respective team's success has be large.

Two of the state's top quarterbacks, both juniors, will square off tonight as No. 3-ranked Southeast Polk hosts Marshalltown in the second round of the Class 4A state football playoffs.

Marshalltown owns an 8-2 record and has an offense that has put Iowa's all-time records in its cross hairs.

The Bobcats are averaging 378.3 passing yards per game, which is ahead of Iowa's all-time single season mark.

Quarterback Blake Gimbel has 3,734 passing yards and became the state's all-time single season leader with his final completion of Wednesday's 55-10 win over Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln.

Gimbel threw for five touchdowns against Abraham Lincoln to bring his season total of 37 to break the Class 4A and school record - Chanse Creekmur had 35 in 2009. Gimbel also is the placekicker for MHS and is second in Iowa in PATs made as he is 60-for-61 this season.

Fact Box

Marshalltown (8-2) at Southeast Polk (9-1)

Class 4A Playoffs

Second Round

Monday, 7 p.m.

Pleasant Hill

Southeast Polk stands 9-1 as quarterback Kyle Starcevich is hitting on 70 percent of his attempts and has 1,893 yards and 25 touchdowns for the season.

Starcevich went 5-for-5 passing for 138 yards and three touchdowns in the Rams' 67-7 playoff victory over Sioux City North.

"He's a very talented quarterback. You can tell he's the general on the field for their offense," Marshalltown head coach Dave Holdiman said of Starcevich.

Southeast Polk also can lean on a power running game, led by Jordan Beem and his 732 rushing yards and 10 scores.

"Both quarterbacks have gotten a lot of attention and for both it's well deserved," Holdiman said, "but there are 10 other guys out there that got to perform well too if those guys are going to get their job done."

"It comes down to our 11 have to play better than their 11," he added.

The Rams are eighth in Class 4A in scoring (39.6 points per game), while the Bobcats are 14th in scoring defense, allowing 22 points per game.

Ty Steffensen of MHS continues to move up Iowa all-time lists for receivers. He has 90 receptions this year (most ever in 4A) and he is the 15th in Iowa history to have 1,200 yards in a season (1,249).

A Marshalltown squad that is third in 4A in scoring offense at 43.9 points per game will be lined up across from 4A's No. 1 scoring defense in the Rams.

"They fly to the ball well, they play together well and the statistic that jumps at you is they are only giving up 7.7 points a game," Holdiman said. "Their scoring defense is outstanding, the best in the state."

Southeast Polk has held nine of its 10 opponents to 13 points or less. Sioux City East scored 22 against the Rams on Oct. 14 in a 48-22 contest. The Bobcats defeated Sioux City East in Week 4.

Brandon VanHeeswyk has eight interceptions for Southeast Polk and is tied for the 4A lead.

Marshalltown safety Kyle Carnahan is tied for third among the entire CIML with five interceptions. Carnahan is 4A's leading tackler with 133 total stops.

The gates at Southeast Polk open tonight at 5:30 p.m. and kickoff is set for 7 p.m. Advance tickets may be purchased today from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. at MHS.