Marshalltown football coach David Holdiman warns players, fans and anyone else who will listen not to be fooled by Waukee's loss to defending Class 4A champion West Des Moines Valley last Friday.
Holdiman said the Warriors played tough, are very talented and has the Bobcats' full attention this week for their battle Friday night at Leonard Cole Field.
"That score was pretty deceiving," Holdiman said. "Waukee led 7-3 after one quarter and then had some booboos in the kicking game and had a pick 6 that turned the game around. This is a good football team we are facing Friday."
Waukee lost to Valley 45-21 last week, but sophomore tailback Trevor Allen rushed for 201 yards on 29 carries and scored twice in the loss. Holdiman said the amount of carries Allen had last week gives the Bobcats an easy idea of what the Warriors want to do offensively.
"That is a pretty good indicator as to what they are planning on doing," Holdiman said. "He is a fantastic football player though. You always want to take away what the other team does best. But I am not sure we can stop him. Hopefully, we can slow him down some."
With Allen almost guaranteed to get plenty of touches, the Marshalltown run defense will have to be on their game from the opening kickoff. The Bobcats started slow defensively last week against Pella's run-first mis-direction option offense, but limited the big plays and only allowed 14 points.
Waukee (0-1) at Marshalltown (1-1)
At Leonard Cole Field
Friday, 7 p.m.
"I thought we got better as the game went on," said Holdiman about the Bobcat defense. "We bent a lot but didn't break."
The Bobcats will need to do that again this week and expected to play key roles in that approach will be senior linebacker Tyler Kluver and senior defensive lineman Pedro Gomez. Both played big roles in the win last week over the Dutch. Kluver leads the team with 27 tackles through two games.
"The special teams was much better last week, too," Holdiman said. "But we have to continue to get better. We cannot rest on our laurels. The teams will continue to get better every week."
While the defense got better from Week Zero to Week 1, the offense also took a step forward by converting strong drives into points and limiting their mistakes against Pella's defense.
Through two games, the offense has averaged 416 yards but just 22.5 points per game.
Senior quarterback Blake Gimbel is leading the state in passing yards with 852 and also has six TD passes. Another state leader is senior wideout Tad Steffensen, who has a state-high 25 catches and a state-high 352 yards but has only scored twice. He reached the end zone once Friday but two others were called back due to holding penalties.
Senior De'Quan McDowell also has been a bright spot offensively. He trails just Steffensen in catches with 20 and has gained 278 yards and scored once.
"It's all about execution for us," Holdiman said. "If we execute well, we'll score points. It just comes down to pitching, catching, blocking and running."
Two Bobcats went down last week with injuries. Running back Colton Fuller suffered a knee ligament injury in the first half and did not return. Holdiman said he expects to Fuller to play, but also will use Connor Ruddick in the running game.
The news was not so fortunate for the Bobcat defense, which will be without the services of Michael Schrempf for about five weeks. Schrempf broke his hand in half in the first half last week. Schrempf's dad said he should be able to return in five weeks and also has a long-shot chance to return for postseason play in golf.
The Bobcats and Warriors will do battle beginning at 7 p.m. Friday. There will be no freshman game beforehand.
"We are playing a formiddable opponent Friday," Holdiman said. "We are going to have to bring our 'A' game to win."