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Turnover margin helps to drive MHS in playoffs

October 30, 2011
By MARK PAWLAK - T-R Asst. Sports Editor (mpawlak@timesrepublican.com) , Times-Republican

The defense is skilled in taking the ball away, be it an interception or a fumble, while the offense has limited its giveaways all season.

The Marshalltown football team has a strong turnover differential and that is one of the reasons its season continues. The Bobcats (8-2) have a matchup with Southeast Polk (9-1) in the second round of the Class 4A state playoffs on Monday in Pleasant Hill.

Marshalltown had a plus-six differential in Wednesday's 55-10 victory over Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln in its postseason opener. The Bobcats had four fumble recoveries and two interceptions defensively, while their offense did not turn the ball over.

Article Photos

T-R PHOTO BY MARK PAWLAK
Marshalltown defensive lineman Pedro Gomez (61) gets a hold of Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln quarterback Jared Thompson during Wednesday’s Class 4A state playoff game at Leonard Cole Field. The Bobcats won 55-10 to advance to a second round matchup at Southeast Polk on Monday.

"When the numbers look like that, you should come out on top," said Marshalltown head coach Dave Holdiman.

For the season, the Bobcats are plus-11 in the turnover category with 30 takeaways and 19 giveaways.

"That's a very big statistic. Next to the score the turnover margin is the most important statistic in football, in my opinion," Holdiman said. "The last two games we've given up one and gotten 10, and it's lead to lopsided scores."

Fact Box

Marshalltown (8-2) at Southeast Polk (9-1)

Class 4A Playoffs

Second Round

Monday, 7 p.m.

At Southeast Polk High School, Pleasant Hill

"We're in a big game Monday and in a hostile place," Holdiman added. "The team that takes care of the ball and minimizes those kind of errors is going to have a great opportunity to win.

"It all starts with the old adage, before you can win you have to keep from beating yourself. Turnovers are going to be a big thing."

The Marshalltown defense has 17 interceptions to tie for the most in Class 4A. Kyle Carnahan has five picks, Bennett Mann four and Tyler Kluver three.

The 13 fumble recoveries for the Bobcats ranks second in 4A. David Hughes has a team-high three recoveries.

This fall marks the third season of eight or more wins in the last 50 years for MHS, joining the 2009 and 1977 squads.

Southeast Polk shared the CIML Central crown and has won six straight games. The Rams lead 4A in scoring defense at 7.7 points per game.

"Our speed has to be able to neutralize their physical play," Holdiman said, "and I'm sure they would like to control the ball with their running game and keep our offense off the field."

Tickets are $6 and may be purchased in advance at the MHS main office on Monday from 9 a.m.-4 p.m.