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Bobcats, Little Cyclones clash in pass-happy rivalry

October 6, 2011
By MARK PAWLAK - Assistant Sports Editor (mpawlak@timesrepublican.com) , Times-Republican

The rivalry is getting a dash of pass.

Marshalltown and Ames will meet for the 97th time on the football field Friday night in Ames.

The throw portion of the idea that you can throw a team's record out the window in rivalry games takes extra meaning. No two teams in Class 4A throw the ball more than the Bobcats and Little Cyclones. MHS leads 4A in passes attempted this fall with 255, while Ames is second with 187.

"It will be an interesting matchup, always is when we play Ames," said Marshalltown head coach Dave Holdiman. "It's a great rivalry. Records don't mean much, it's all about what happens that night when you go between the lines."

Both Marshalltown (4-2, 0-2) and Ames (4-3, 1-2) are coming off CIML Iowa Conference losses last week. Waukee crashed the Bobcats' Homecoming and claimed a 50-28 win, while the Little Cyclones lost 41-0 at Valley.

The first game in the Marshalltown-Ames series was in 1900 and the Little Cyclones hold a 62-30-4 advantage. The two teams have faced off each of the last 23 years.

Fact Box

Marshalltown (4-2, 0-2) at Ames (4-3, 1-2)

At Ames High School

Friday, 7:30 p.m.

"They're our neighbors, they're very close by and it's been a long standing rivalry that spans generations," Holdiman said. "Our players, their dads played against Ames and it was a big game then, their grandfathers played and it was a big game then.

"The tradition is very long standing and it's always a spirited contest."

The Bobcat offense is averaging 43.67 points per game, third-most in Class 4A. Ames is 21st in the 4A defensive standings at 22.57 ppg.

Marshalltown had 383 yards of total offense last week against Waukee, but was unable to keep up on the scoreboard.

"We had some drops, we had some problems in that regard, but that's football," Holdiman said. "We ended up scoring 28 points and had opportunities to put a couple more on the board. Certainly it was not as well as we can play."

Junior quarterback Blake Gimbel has completed 60 percent of his passes for the Bobcats and has 2,233 yards with 23 touchdowns and six interceptions for the season.

Ty Steffensen has 58 receptions for 851 yards and 10 touchdowns, while Tad Steffensen adds 37 catches for 439 yards and three scores. Seven times this season running back Dominick Osborne has reached the end zone on the ground.

The Little Cyclones are 28th in 4A offensively at 22.86 points per game, while the Marshalltown defense is 31st (28.33 ppg).

Ames has a sophomore at quarterback in Sam Straub (454 yards and five touchdowns), while sophomore Alex Brammer also has seen time under center (366 yards and two touchdowns).

Hansen Breitling has 702 rushing yards and 10 scores over Ames' seven games this season. He had 90 yards and both Little Cyclone touchdowns in a 14-7 Ames win last fall at MHS.

"They've got a young quarterback who's throwing the ball well, and a fine running back in Breitling," Holdiman said. "They look a lot like we do scheme-wise in shotgun spread."

Kyle Carnahan's 78 tackles pace the Bobcat defense. He had 19 against Waukee Tyler Kluver has 39 tackles with a team-high nine stops for loss on the season.

If Marshalltown needed any more reason to get up for the rivalry game, there's the bad taste remaining for last Friday's loss to Waukee. A 'triple-whammy' of coming off a bye week, in to Homecoming and a change of game-day routine (MHS didn't have school) played against the Bobcats, Holdiman said.

"Give Waukee credit, they executed very well and we didn't. They made more plays and it's reflected in the score," Holdiman said.