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Short week after loss has Bobcats making long trip to Sioux City East

September 15, 2011
By MARK PAWLAK - Assistant Sports Editor (mpawlak@timesrepublican.com) , Times-Republican

The lesson learned last week was that two good quarters of football followed by two less-than-ideal quarters more often than not will result in a loss.

Now off a short week of preparation, Marshalltown (3-1) looks to bounce back from its first loss of the season tonight at Sioux City East (0-3).

The Bobcats led No. 3 Valley 24-17 at halftime last Friday at Leonard Cole Field, but could not keep the momentum in the second half. The Tigers were able to leave town with a 45-24 victory after outscoring MHS 28-0 in the second half.

"You have to play four quarters to win football games and most games are determined in the second half," said Marshalltown head coach Dave Holdiman. "That was a big lesson I think we learned. We have to make the commitment to play a complete ballgame."

"Games turn on four or five plays and you never know when those plays are going to happen. That's why every snap means you give it your best effort," he added.

In last year's matchup with Sioux City East, the Bobcats also suffered a second-half slowdown. Marshalltown led 14-10 at halftime on Homecoming only to see the Black Raiders control the second half to win 35-14.

Fact Box

Marshalltown (3-1) at Sioux City East (0-3)

Thursday, 7:30 p.m.

Olsen Stadium, Sioux City

"Not only do we have a short week," Holdiman said, "they're (Sioux City East) coming off a bye so they've had a focus on us for an extra week. For us we have to compensate for that by really being sharp, having great focus and go into their place with a game plan that we execute."

Two offenses that can light up a scoreboard will be on display tonight at Olsen Stadium with the Bobcats being led by quarterback Blake Gimbel and East by Alex Imming.

Imming rushed for 199 yards and threw for 214 in last year's matchup. He missed the first two games of the 2011 season and amassed 26 rushes for 202 yards and four TDs to go with 32-for-49 passing with 287 yards and two scoring strikes on Sept. 2 in a 60-41 loss to Des Moines Lincoln.

"He's a very good runner and he presents that multi-threat dimension that we haven't seen yet," Holdiman said of Imming. "It makes them a difficult team to defend."

The top receiving target for the Black Raiders is Dom Thompson-Williams who has 21 catches for 267 yards on the season. Thompson-Williams caught TD passes spanning 63 and 43 yards last year at Marshalltown.

Gimbel's right arm has helped the Bobcats average 42.8 points per game. The 24 points last Friday against Valley were the most MHS has scored against the Tigers in the 21 years of the series between the CIML Iowa Conference schools.

Gimbel is Iowa high school football's passing leader with over 1,300 yards through four games. He has 15 touchdowns and three interceptions.

Ty Steffensen hauled in 12 receptions for 156 yards and a touchdown last week against Valley for the Bobcats. He is Class 4A's leader in TD receptions with seven and ranks second in both receptions (34) and yards (560).

East defensively is allowing 36 points per game and the 60 scored by Lincoln is the most ever allowed by the Black Raiders in a single game.

East's winless record is deceiving, Holdiman said, as the team had several starters suspended at the beginning of the year and then lost to CIML Metro power Lincoln last week. The Black Raiders also lost a seven-point game to Waukee and a two-point contest to unanimous 3A No. 1 Bishop Heelan.

The focus this week for MHS has been getting back to putting together four quarters of efficient football.

"We've got to get back to playing Bobcat football for four quarters," Holdiman said. "If we do that, it should be a great ballgame and we'll have our chance to come out of there with a win. If we don't, it will be a long night."