Missed opportunities

Turnovers plague Bobcats in 18-15 loss to Waterloo East

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON • Marshalltown senior Blake Linsenmeyer takes down Waterloo East running back Tyrell Gordan during the first half of the Bobcats’ 18-15 loss to the Trojans on Friday night at Leonard Cole Field.

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON • Marshalltown senior Blake Linsenmeyer takes down Waterloo East running back Tyrell Gordan during the first half of the Bobcats’ 18-15 loss to the Trojans on Friday night at Leonard Cole Field.

With less than a minute to go in the fourth quarter on Friday night, Marshalltown head football coach Adam Goodvin faced arguably the toughest decision of his young coaching career.

The Bobcats had the football at 4th-and-two with 33 seconds left on the Waterloo East 7-yard-line, down 18-15 in their second game at Leonard Cole Field this season. The Trojans had just jumped offsides on a field-goal attempt on 4th-and-seven, so the decision came down to attempt another field goal and go for the tie or try and pick up the two yards for a 1st-and-goal situation.

After his second timeout of the sequence, Goodvin opted to attempt the field goal, but as the snap was released it sailed over holder Sam Irwin’s head and the Bobcats never got the kick off, leading to the eventual three-point loss to Waterloo East.

When asked after the game if he thought about going for the first down there at the end, Goodvin said he stands by his decision and putting faith in kicker Ryan Huffman’s leg.

“Obviously that’s not what any of us wanted. We drew them offsides and we tried to do it again,” Goodvin said after the heart-breaking loss. “We have a lot of confidence in Ryan Huffman as our senior kicker, and unfortunately we just didn’t get the opportunity. We can’t blame it on any one single guy, I told them after that this was a total team loss.”

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON • Marshalltown quarterback Sam Irwin (2) carries the ball through Waterloo East defenders while trying to gain extra yards during the second quarter of the Bobcats’ three-point loss to the Trojans at home on Friday night.

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON • Marshalltown quarterback Sam Irwin (2) carries the ball through Waterloo East defenders while trying to gain extra yards during the second quarter of the Bobcats’ three-point loss to the Trojans at home on Friday night.

The failed kick attempt was just one of a series of unfortunate events that plagued Marshalltown (1-2) against the Trojans (2-1). The Bobcats forced three turnovers, but coughed up the ball four times themselves. They had the ball inside the Waterloo East 20 on five separate occasions, but only managed to get points on two of those red zone trips.

Goodvin said he doesn’t like to dwell on what didn’t happen in a game, but he almost couldn’t help it after his team’s second loss of the season.

“You hate to go to the what ifs, but we had the ball in the red zone and couldn’t punch it in,” he said. “That’s something we’ve got to really focus on from now on. We want to be able to say ‘good, we executed that play how we wanted to when it mattered.'”

Irwin had his best day passing on the year, going 9-17 with 161 yards and a touchdown through the air, but he also threw two interceptions in the game, both on the first drive of the first and second half. He also led the team in rushing for the third-straight game, churning out 83 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries.

Goodvin said Irwin played well and improvised throughout the game, though sometimes he relied too much on his own ability to run the ball.

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON • Marshalltown junior Alex Rockingham, right, tip-toes along the sideline during the first quarter of the team’s 18-15 loss to Waterloo East on Friday night.

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON • Marshalltown junior Alex Rockingham, right, tip-toes along the sideline during the first quarter of the team’s 18-15 loss to Waterloo East on Friday night.

“He’s a confident and smart kid, he is going to get better every week and obviously he’s developed his run game a lot better,” he said. “Sometimes he might be a little too confident, and we are working on making some of those correct reads, but for the most part he did a good job and I’m proud of them.”

Defensively, given the offense turning it over four times the Bobcats held the Trojans as well as they could. There were many fourth-down stands throughout the night for the Marshalltown defense and outside of two big passing plays to Waterloo East’s Damon Johnson for 47 and 64 yards, the Bobcats kept the Trojans in check.

“I was proud of them, we have a couple guys who are dinged up and they were out there fighting hard,” Goodvin said. “It was fun to see how tough they were, but I think all of us as a coaching staff have to dig deep and find something else from within us and do something different.”

This is the kind of loss that both the coaches and players will look back on as one that got away. There were too many big moments that the Bobcats weren’t able to capitalize on and too many moments where they handed the ball to Waterloo East in a crucial time in the game.

Still, Goodvin said he has faith in the guys he coaches and he knows they can turn things around as they move on to their next matchup, a road test against Waterloo West.

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON

“We’re going to be ok, we are going to get better,” he said. “We will get better and I have all the confidence in the world in these guys and I wouldn’t trade them for anybody else. Us as a coaching staff, we have to do a better job of preparing these kids and putting them in situations to be successful.”

Waterloo East 18, Marshalltown 15

At Marshalltown

Waterloo East 12 0 0 6 — 18

MHS 0 7 0 8 — 15

Scoring Summary

First Quarter

WE — Damon Johnson 10 pass from Tanner Cronan (kick failed), 6:18.

WE — Tyrell Gordan 7 run (pass failed), :11.

Second Quarter

MHS — Sam Irwin 1 run (Ryan Huffman kick good), 8:38.

Third Quarter

No scoring.

Fourth Quarter

MHS — Tyler Reeder 10 pass from Irwin (run good), 11:56.

WE — Gordan 2 run (run failed), 6:31.

Individual leaders

RUSHING — WE: Gordan 15-70, Johnson 3-18, Jacee Clark 4-17, Cronan 6-6; MHS: Irwin 24-83, Alex Rockingham 15-26, Jordan Fox 1-(minus-1).

PASSING — WE: Cronan 10-22-173-0, Johnson 1-1-3-0; MHS: Irwin 9-17-161-2.

RECEIVING — WE: Johnson 5-136, Daquavian Walker 3-14, Tavious Jerkins 1-13, Gordan 1-6, Clark 1-5; MHS: Josh Melde 2-54, Jonhathan Hernandez 1-37, Dylan Eygabroad 1-32, Rockingham 3-25, Tyler Reeder 1-10, Kabba Pins 1-3.