MASON CITY - Blake Gimbel is the new standard for passing yards at Marshalltown High School.
The senior signal caller threw for 488 yards and seven touchdowns Friday night during the Bobcats' 58-21 win over Mason City and became the school's all-time leader for career passing in the process.
Gimbel now has 7,400 yards through the air for his career, which passed previous record holder Tyler Peschong's 7,259. Gimbel needed 347 yards to surpass Peschong heading into the game and had 351 yards by halftime as he had his way against the Mason City defense. The record-setter came on his final pass of the second quarter, a 72-yard touchdown strike to De'Quan McDowell with 18 seconds to play until halftime.
T-R PHOTO BY TYLER STRAND
Marshalltown High School quarterback fires a pass during Friday’s Class 4A Division 3 football game against Mason City. The senior signal caller moved into first place all-time in Bobcat history with 7,400 passing yards after Friday’s 488-yard performance that included a school-record seven touchdowns during a 58-21 victory over the host Mohawks.
"I actually didn't know that, so that is news to me," Gimbel said. "Tyler Peschong and Chanse Creekmur were both influential for me growing up, especially Tyler. I looked up to both of those guys. But the credit for this record goes to the coaches, the receivers and the offensive line. They make it happen. The offensive line has been great all season."
McDowell finished with 228 yards receiving in the game, which ranks third all-time for receiving yards in a single game at MHS. His two touchdowns covered 72 and 57 yards.
Brandon Pettigrew also finished with two scores and 116 receiving yards, while Dacoda Ewalt ended up with 87 yards and two touchdowns. All three wide receivers had to pick up the slack for the injured Tad Steffensen.
Steffensen had knee surgery Friday and will miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL.
"We got a lot of big plays from our big-play guys today," Marshalltown head coach Dave Holdiman said. "We had plenty of balance and good distribution."
The Bobcats rolled up 601 total yards in the game. They started off slow and led 10-7 after one quarter but put the game away with a 27-point effort in the second frame and led 37-7 at the break. They also had to fight through a lightning delay early in the third quarter.
"Mason City was fired up, and we had to shake off some rust from our bye week," said Holdiman, who served as head coach at Mason City for seven years. "We had to respond and we just did what we do. We responded well to the challenge.
"That second quarter was the story of the game. Then we were able to strike quick in the third quarter and had the continuous clock going for most of the second half."
McDowell's 57-yard touchdown catch in the third quarter came less than two minutes into the frame. Mason City answered to stop the continuous clock on its next possession, but the Bobcats came right back with another score as Gimbel hooked up with Ewalt from 17 yards out.
The Bobcats (6-2) have now won five straight games and will take a 3-0 Division 3 record into next Friday when they host Dowling Catholic for the division title. The Maroons also are 3-0 in division play.
"We hoped the last game at home would mean something, and our goal was to get to where we are at," Holdiman said. "The title has alluded a lot of Marshalltown teams in the past. We have some work to do, and the kids know that. We'll have our hands full, but you can't count this team out."
The Bobcats had 25 first downs and committed just two penalties against Mason City, which dropped to 1-8 on the season. The other receiving TD came from Colton Fuller in the first quarter. Connor Ruddick scored the other TD on the ground in the fourth quarter.
The five-game winning streak for the Bobcats has been impressive. They have had the continuous clock in four of those wins and are gaining a lot of confidence with each week.
"We have a lot of momentum right now," Gimbel said. "We've played some solid games lately and are just working toward that championship."
A win Friday night against Dowling Catholic would secure a No. 1 seed for the Bobcats heading into the playoffs. They are guaranteed no worse than a No. 2 seed with the win over Mason City. That should give them a home playoff game at Leonard Cole Field regardless of next week's result against the Maroons.
But Gimbel knows losing Steffensen will hurt.
"Tad and I have a special relationship, and it was pretty emotional when I found out he was done for the rest of the year," Gimbel said, "I know it is even tougher on him."
Steffensen's injury first occurred in the Ottumwa game. He then tweaked the knee in the win over Des Moines Hoover and had surgery to repair the ACL on Friday, according to Steffensen. Austin Sowers filled in for Steffensen and finished with five catches for 38 yards. The Mohawks were held to just 71 rushing yards and gained 252 total yards in 52 plays. The game at Mohawk Field included a 45-minute delay due to lightning in the second half. A downpour and eventually lightning came just after the third-quarter kickoff. Play resumed at 9:12 p.m. The other scoring drive for the Bobcats came on their opening possession. It was a 20-yard field goal by Gimbel. Next week's game against Dowling Catholic will begin at 7 p.m. from Leonard Cole Field. It will be Senior Night as well.