Bobcat football team hoping to exploit Fort Dodge defense

T-R GRAPHIC

T-R GRAPHIC

With just three games left in the regular season for the Marshalltown football team, the Bobcats (1-5, 0-2) have essentially be reduced to the role of spoiler in the playoff picture, but that doesn’t mean there still isn’t room to grow and things to accomplish in 2017.

MHS has a chance to find the win column for only the second time this season when it travels to take on Fort Dodge (3-3, 0-2) in a Class 4A District 4 matchup on Friday night.

Marshalltown has shown signs of promise in its last couple of home games against No. 10 Newton and Indianola, but the Bobcats have given up too many big plays to overcome.

Newton had scores of 68 and 93 yards two weeks ago, and Indianola had scores of 39 and 94 yards last week.

Bobcats head coach Adam Goodvin said fending off those big plays ultimately comes down to discipline and consistent effort from his team.

“It’s more consistency, we are very sporadic on when we decide to play our best football,” Goodvin said of what his team needs after practice Wednesday. “So we are trying to develop that consistency and execution on every play and expecting to execute and get that in their minds. That’s what we’ve been working on, nothing special.”

The Dodgers possess big-play ability on the offensive end of their own, with junior quarterback Drake Miller coming into the game as the third-best QB in 4A with 1,592 yards through the air and a 21 touchdowns with only one interception.

Catching most of those passes from Miller is senior Trey Mosley, who enters Friday’s game with 612 yards receiving and seven touchdowns, including an 87-yard score. Freshman Dayson Clayton totes the rock for Fort Dodge, averaging over seven yards per carry and recording seven scores of his own, including a 54-yard touchdown run.

Goodvin said stopping an offense that’s averaging 41 points per game will be no easy task, but he trusts his playmakers on the defensive side.

“I told the guys that it’s a lot easier said than done. They have to go out there and back it up and actually play and do your job,” Goodvin said. “They have talented players, their quarterback is a tough kid and he knows where to go with the football. He gets the ball to his play makers and the Mosely kid is faster than heck, he does some special things. They have some other kids that can go up and get it and their running back Clayton is only a freshman and he’s a talented kid. He is going to be another challenge for us defensively to stop.”

As for the Fort Dodge defense, it has been victimized quite a few times throughout the season. The Dodgers are coming off a 71-70 defeat at the hands of Newton last week in a game that Cardinals totaled 562 yards and nine touchdowns on the ground alone.

Marshalltown struggled to get its run game working against Indianola last week, so Goodvin said that’s been a point of emphasis this week in practice.

“We have really emphasized how important it is to develop our run game,” he said. “Our offensive line has done a great job this week in understanding that and executing in practice.”

Another factor that will help the Bobcat run attack is getting regular starter Alex Rockingham back from an ankle injury. While Rockingham has been out of the lineup, Giorgio Diiorio has stepped up and had some nice production, as well as Wyatt Himes.

Goodvin said having that three-headed attack running the ball can be a benefit for his team, as long as the offensive line does its job.

“Rockingham is coming along well, he is starting to feel a lot better and he will be able to go on both sides of the football, which is nice,” Goodvin said. “With him back and Giorgio and Himes, we definitely want to look for some success on the ground.”

Fort Dodge will have an interesting mindset heading into this week-seven matchup, to say the least. This is the Dodgers homecoming, they just lost a game in which they scored 70 points, and they are looking for revenge after the Bobcats beat them in 2017. Goodvin said if his Bobcats jump out to a quick start in the game, things could snowball against the home team.

“No one will be happy after going through their week last week, so I am sure they went back to the drawing board and got some things ironed out on their end,” he said. “We have to make sure we are still on top of our game offensively and can execute. They will be ready to go, it’s homecoming and they are looking for revenge from last year. They will be up and excited and ready to play some football, so we have been making sure our guys understand that and we want to bring the energy and set the tone from the start.”

Marshalltown and Fort Dodge are set to duke it out at Dodger Stadium, with kickoff scheduled for 7:30 p.m.