When voting for the all-state football teams this past weekend, the Iowa Newspaper Association had a big decision to make at quarterback in Class 4A.
The field featured a state-record holder in passing yards for a season, a four-year starter who accounted for 3,400 totals yards in helping his team win a state championship and two signal callers who completed more than 70 percent of their passes.
In the end, Marshalltown senior Blake Gimbel was the odd man out.
"It was the year of the quarterback," Marshalltown coach David Holdiman said. "There was tremendous talent, especially on the west side of the state. That position was really loaded."
But the Iowa Newspaper Association did find a spot on their Class 4A all-state first team for the Bobcat senior as Gimbel was honored as a kicker.
"It doesn't take away what Blake did for us this year," Holdiman said. "He's a very fine kicker, too. He has made unmeasurable marks for this program. He needed to be recognized somewhere."
The first-team quarterback spot went to Southeast Polk's Kyle Starcevich and Ankeny's Joel Lanning was placed on the first-team as a utility player and also was named the 4A captain for guiding his Hawks to their first state championship in more than 15 years.
Marshalltown lost to both of those teams during the season on its way to a 7-4 mark and fourth straight playoff appearance.
Cedar Rapids Xavier QB Reggie Schulte was the second-team quarterback after completing a Class 4A-best 72 percent of his passes and leading Xavier to the state championship game.
Also earning spots on the INA all-state team were Marshalltown seniors Tad Steffensen, Tyler Kluver and Pedro Gomez.
Gimbel threw for a state-record 3,979 yards in back-to-back seasons at Marshalltown. He finished third all-time in career passing yards for the state of Iowa and was tied for fourth all-time in passing TDs with 77.
In 2012, Gimbel also threw 35 touchdowns to just seven interceptions and completed 61 percent of his passes while scoring five times on the ground.
As a kicker, Gimbel was 51-of-56 in PATs and 7-of-10 in field goals. His long on the season was a 49-yarder in Week 4 against Ames. He also had 27 kickoffs sail into the end zone for touchbacks.
Steffensen earned second-team all-state honors as a wide receiver and was the state's leading pass catcher before he went down with an injury against Ottumwa. He played the next week against Des Moines Hoover but was limited and missed the final four games of the season with a torn ACL.
"Unfortunately, it was not meant to be for Tad this year as far as the injury goes," Holdiman said. "He is our fastest player and our biggest big-play guy. I am glad he was still recognized despite getting hurt."
The speedy wideout still finished with 61 catches for 879 yards and nine touchdowns. He also returned both a kickoff and punt for a touchdown and converted an interception into a score on defense.
"He's deserving for sure," Holdiman added.
The Bobcats' defense was led by Kluver and Gomez this season.
And both were honored with third-team selections - Kluver at linebacker and Gomez at defensive line.
Kluver, who will attend Iowa next season as a long snapper, was the team's leading tackler with 98 and also had six sacks and 11 solo tackles for loss.
"If Pedro is our braun, Tyler Kluver is our brains," Holdiman said. "He has a strong knowledge of the gameplan and is a strong leader. He has been the glue that held our defense together. He has great instincts and a great nose for the ball. He'll be missed, too."
Gomez finished with 53 tackles, 16 tackles for loss and 10 sacks. He encountered several double teams this year but made impact plays for the Bobcats no matter who they faced in the game.
"He has been our anchor up front the past two seasons," Holdiman said. "He's our strongest player and has tremendous ability. He has a lot of good football ahead of him if he wants to go that route."