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Tigers tame Bobcat uprising

No. 3 Valley surges in second half to take battle of unbeatens

September 10, 2011
By MARK PAWLAK - Assistant Sports Editor ( , Times-Republican

The description was the good, the bad and the ugly all wrapped into one, and the scoreboard at the breaks told it.

No. 3-ranked West Des Moines Valley controlled the second half on its way to a 45-24 victory over Marshalltown in a CIML Iowa Conference football opener Friday.

The two teams that came into the night undefeated were on even footing in the first half and the Bobcats took a 24-17 lead into halftime.

Article Photos

Marshalltown defenders Kyle Carnahan, left, and Tyler Kluver combine to bring down Valley’s Tanner Hinkle (1) at the 10-yard-line during the first half of Friday’s CIML Iowa Conference football game at Leonard Cole Field. Valley scored a 45-24 victory.

The Tigers (4-0, 1-0) had a pair of back-breaking moves to start the second half and scored 28 unanswered points at Leonard Cole Field for the 45-24 final.

"Valley played very well (in the second half) and I thought we just didn't execute well at all offensively," said MHS head coach Dave Holdiman. "It started with a mistake and it all went downhill from there. We talked about how we've got to be able to respond to adversity a lot better than we did tonight."

Trey Lewis finished the night with 36 carries for 286 yards and three touchdowns as the Valley ground game asserted its will in the second half.

The Bobcat offense was on the move in the first half and the defense was making plays as Marshalltown (3-1, 0-1) aimed for the program's first win on its home field against Valley.

Wide receiver Ty Steffensen had a huge night (12 catches for 156 yards) for the Bobcats but the MHS offense could not keep pace in the second half.

A trio of first-half touchdown passes from Blake Gimbel to Ty Steffensen (39 yards), Tad Steffensen (6 yards) and Austin Hauser (29 yards) had the Bobcats in great position at the halfway point.

"I don't know if you can execute it much better than we did the first half," Holdiman said. "It was the good, the bad and the ugly all in one game. You saw tremendous execution in the first half and the other end of the spectrum in the second."

On the second play of the second half, the Tigers' Tyus Mason intercepted a Gimbel pass over the middle and was able to shake free of several tacklers on his way to a 40-yard touchdown to tie the game.

Marshalltown went three-and-out on its next possession and Valley pounced to drastically swing momentum. The Tigers went 70 yards in nine plays and took the lead on a 1-yard Jeff Pullen quarterback sneak with 4:54 left in the third quarter.

The final of the three Lewis scoring runs came with 8:06 remaining to extend the MHS deficit to two touchdowns and then Pullen put it away with another 1-yard sneak with 6:16 left.

Valley finished with 439 yards of total offense and had the ball for 30 minutes, 11 seconds, compared to 309 yards for MHS with a time of possession of 17:49.

The Tigers, led by the ability of Lewis to break tackles, churned out 380 rushing yards on 54 attempts. Valley's first-unit offensive line tips the scales at 201238, , 244, 270 and 284 pounds.

"They were able to control the ball," Holdiman said. "They got the lead and put us into a must-throw situation. Give them credit, they kept chopping the wood.

"We just didn't respond to an adverse play very well. I think our inexperience and our youth showed up there a little bit, but we don't have time to pout and sulk about it, we got to play a game next Thursday. We're going to look at the film, learn from it and move forward."

Marshalltown returns to action Thursday with a trip to Sioux City East to face the Black Raiders at Olsen Stadium.

The Bobcats on Friday gained 285 yards in the first half on 40 snaps. Marshalltown's second half total was 27 plays that netted 24 yards.

"It was just one of those games where we played so well in the first half you really don't want to stop at halftime," Holdiman said. "You want to keep playing."

Gimbel finished 28-for-53 for 320 yards with three touchdowns and an interception. Tad Steffensen added eight catches for 68 yards, while Dominick Osborne had six receptions for 60 yards.

Kyle Carnahan led the MHS defense with nine solo and 12 assisted tackles on the night. He also forced a fumble. Bennett Mann had six solo and five assisted tackles, David Hughes added a fumble recovery and Tyler Kluver had an interception at the goal line.