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High-octane Bobcat duo garners first-team honor

November 22, 2011
By MARK PAWLAK - T-R Asst. Sports Editor ( , Times-Republican

The Iowa high school football record-breaking quarterback-wide receiver connection from Marshalltown has received recognition from the Iowa Newspaper Association.

On the INA Class 4A all-state teams released today, Marshalltown quarterback Blake Gimbel and wide receiver Ty Steffensen were selected to the first team.

The Bobcats, which finished 8-3 and advanced to the second round of the state playoffs, had five all-state picks. Kyle Carnahan, Pedro Gomez and Ben Turner were each on the 4A third team.

The junior Gimbel finished the year 269-for-438 passing for 3,979 yards with 39 touchdowns and nine interceptions. Gimbel set the Iowa all-time single season mark for passing yardage and is No. 2 in completions and third in TD passes. Both his completion and touchdown numbers set 4A records. He also set the Iowa all-time single game record with a 567-yard passing night against Sioux City East.

"The numbers speak for themselves," said Marshalltown head coach Dave Holdiman. "He was able to come out of nowhere and break state records, what else can you say? He had an outstanding year and it was due to a tremendous effort on his part.

"He did it consistently, that was the most impressive to me, he did it week after week."

Gimbel is the third Bobcat quarterback to be named first team all-state in the last five years - Chanse Creekmur in 2009 and Tyler Peschong in 2007.

Steffensen finished his senior first-team all-state campaign with 97 receptions for 1,289 yards and 13 touchdowns. His 97 catches are No. 2 all-time in Iowa for a single season and set a 4A record. Steffensen, the MHS all-time leader in career receptions, also is No. 2 in 4A history in receiving yards in a year.

"He was someone that came to practice every day and really practiced hard. He's a great example to our younger players and how he practiced showed in his performance in games," Holdiman said. "Ty made a lot of big plays for us and was a guy that could ignite a team with those big plays."

The senior safety Carnahan was No. 2 in Class 4A in tackles with 144 total stops - 84 solo and 60 assists. The game-changing starter in the secondary also had five interceptions, four forced fumbles and four blocked kicks.

"In our scheme, we ran a lot of coverages where the safeties have alley run support. When watching film, you see a guy just go flying in there to make a play and it's No. 4 (Carnahan)," Holdiman said.

"Kyle is Marshalltown's all-time leading tackler by quite a stretch," Holdiman added. "He was someone that was a great leader for us and a tremendous representative of our school."

Gomez ended his junior season with 60 tackles and 10 stops for loss. The defensive lineman was a factor that every MHS opponent had to account for.

"Pedro grew a lot as a player this year and not just all physically," Holdiman said. "He really got a grasp of what his role in our defense is. He's an anchor for us on the line and what he is able to do allows our linebackers to go make plays. Pedro went out and made plays as well, he put a lot of pressure on the opposing quarterback and drew double teams."

Turner, a senior, was named all-state as an offensive lineman. Turner helped guide a line that was at the front of Marshalltown ranking second in 4A in scoring at 41.7 points per game. The Bobcats were sixth in 4A in yards gained and had 445.8 per game. Marshalltown's 366.2 passing yards per game were best in Iowa.

"The offense goes as the offensive line goes," Holdiman said. "They're kind of an unsung hero."

"You need a group that works well together and communicates well," Holdiman added, "Ben had a lot to do with that and was our leader on the line."