Some may have said having a bye week during a four-game win streak was not an ideal situation to be in. Others could argue that the Bobcats were in need of some rest and recovery after seven games.
Either way, the Bobcats were faced with a bye week and now will look to continue its winning ways on the road against a struggling Mason City squad.
"There is some measure of truth to not wanting to stop playing when thing are going well," MHS coach David Holdiman said. "We'll find out Friday if the bye week hurt us or helped us. It was needed physically, but you just hope the mental edge didn't go anywhere. We had the right mix of polish and rest I think. And we were able to shore up some things that we felt like we needed to work on."
The Mohawks lost their first seven games of the season before beating Des Moines Hoover in their most recent effort. Still, Mason City has Holdiman and the Bobcats' full attention.
"Records can be deceiving sometimes, and I think that is the case with this team," Holdiman said. "They are coming off a win and those wins can do so much for attitude. We expect another challenge Friday night."
The Mohawks (1-7, 1-2) beat Hoover 49-7. However, in their seven losses, they have been outscored 196-60 and have scored in double figures in just two of those games.
Marshalltown (5-2, 2-0) at Mason City (1-7, 1-2)
Friday, 7 p.m.
In games against common opponents with Marshalltown, Mason City lost to Ames 24-7, was defeated by Waukee 34-10, lost to Ottumwa 21-3 and came out on the short end of a 28-17 decision against Fort Dodge. The 17 points against the Dodgers was the most points the Mohawks have scored all season.
"They run the ball, run the ball and run the ball and then when you over-play the run, they try to beat you with the passing game," Holdiman said. "They pick their spots in the passing game, so we have to make sure we don't send too many guys to the running back. They are also very aggressive defensively."
On the flip side, the Bobcats have been lights-out during their four-game win streak. Marshalltown has averaged nearly 50 points per game in those four wins and has outscored its opponents 199-56. In the last two wins over Ottumwa and Des Moines Hoover, the Bobcats held a 110-14 advantage.
"We are playing very well right now, there is no doubt about it," Holdiman said. "We need to keep that kind of effort going through our stretch run."
MHS senior Blake Gimbel continues to lead the state in passing yards with 2,685. He also is sixth in TD passes with 22 and is first in the state in passing attempts with 311 and completions with 207.
Despite not playing last week, Tad Steffensen still leads the state with 61 catches and is third in yards with 879. He also has nine receiving TDs and a couple more scores by way of special teams. De'Quan McDowell is the No. 2 option, and he is fifth in the state with 54 catches and also has 729 yards and five scores.
Senior linebacker Tyler Kluver and defensive tackle Pedro Gomez lead the defense. Kluver has 63 tackles and three sacks. Gomez leads the team with seven sacks.
Mason City is led on the ground by senior Austin Voves and sophomore Billy O'Niell. Voves leads the team with 296 rushing yards and two scores, but O'Niell has gained 205 yards on just 10 carries and also has two scores.
Junior Matt Meyer has thrown for 592 passing yards and two TDs but also has six interceptions. His favorite target is senior Colin Halfpap, who has 299 yards on 24 catches this season.
A pair of Austins leads the defense. Austin Thomas has a team-high 78 tackles, while Voves is second with 60.
If the Bobcats (5-2, 2-0) win Friday night, they will finish no worse than second in the new Class 4A Division 3. A win would move them to 3-0 in league play and potentially set up a matchup with Dowling Catholic (5-2, 2-0) to decide the division title in the final week of the season at Leonard Cole Field. The Maroons face Des Moines Hoover this week.
"We're in the position we want to be in," Holdiman said. "We'll have to keep playing well and we'll have to seize the moment. It's going to take a tremendous effort though."
Kickoff for Friday's road contest with Mason City has been set for 7 p.m. MHS leads the all-time series 23-22-2 and has won six of the last eight.