A return to the Friday night routine is on tap for the Marshalltown football team.
The Bobcats have a matchup tonight against Waukee at Leonard Cole Field in CIML Iowa Conference play.
Marshalltown has had the last two Fridays off and hasn't played since Thursday, Sept. 15 when it was a 63-41 winner at Sioux City East. That contest saw MHS set the Iowa high school record for team passing yards (567), while that yardage total gave junior quarterback Blake Gimbel the state's individual all-time game mark.
With the time off, the Bobcats are anxious to get back on the field tonight and have their offense again make the night busy for the scoreboard operator.
"We're looking pretty sharp right now and we hope we can main that edge, obviously if it ain't broke you don't fix it," said Marshalltown head coach Dave Holdiman. "We're going to be throwing the ball, running the ball and doing what we do best - get the ball to playmakers in space and let them go make plays."
Tonight is Homecoming at Leonard Cole with the Bobcats standing 4-1 overall and 0-1 in the CIML Iowa. Waukee enters with a 3-2 overall and 1-0 CIML Iowa record.
Waukee (3-2, 1-0) at Marshalltown (4-1, 0-1)
Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Leonard Cole Field, Marshalltown
"You try to impress upon the football team its job is to play the game well on Friday night and give people reason to be happy about the outcome and move forward to the festivities," Holdiman said. "There's a lot of things that go on here during Homecoming, and we want to be sure our priorities are where we need them to be, and that's on the game."
Gimbel has completed 62 percent of his passes for 1,922 yards and 20 touchdowns this season. Ty Steffensen has eight receiving scores, Austin Hauser four and Tad Steffensen three. Dominick Osborne is averaging 7.5 yards per rush and has six touchdowns.
Waukee has back-to-back wins over Mason City (42-6) and Ottumwa (60-19) to its credit. The Warriors also defeated Sioux City East 28-21 in August when East's starting quarterback did not play.
"They've played good people, their two losses have come to two very highly rated teams in Southeast Polk and Ankeny," Holdiman said.
Against Ottumwa, Waukee had seven rushing touchdowns. Nate Lucs and Jordan O'Daye both had 120 yards and two scores, while quarterback Cole Pederson added 99 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries. Pederson threw for four scores in the conference opener against Mason City, a 42-6 win.
"They run a lot of multiple sets, sometimes in a two-back I-formation where they are going to feature the fullback and the tailback," Holdiman said, "then they'll get in the pistol look where the running back is directly behind the shotgun quarterback."
Pederson's dual threat ability to hurt opposing defenses through the air and on the ground is something Marshalltown's defense will have to contend with. The Bobcats are 22nd in 4A in scoring defense (24 ppg).
"Pederson can throw it or run it and he presents problems in that regard for our defense," Holdiman said.
"The whole goal on defense is to try to take away maybe the best two or three running plays and their best pass play," Holdiman added. "Make them go to plan B."
Kyle Carnahan has 59 total tackles and four interceptions on the season for the MHS defense. Tyler Kluver has 33 total tackles and Pedro Gomez 32.
MHS will be looking to end a six-game conference losing streak. The Bobcats lost to Waukee 31-14 last season in Waukee. Marshalltown took both meetings against the Warriors in 2009 at Leonard Cole, 44-22 then 31-26 in the playoffs.