Bobcats end season at home vs. No. 2 Valley

T-R GRAPHIC

T-R GRAPHIC

Adam Goodvin blinked, and his first season as a high school head football coach is in its final game week.

He’s especially thankful for the 30 chaperones who have been there to help him through, and hopes that Marshalltown’s senior football players have gotten as much out of their last hurrah as Goodvin has taken from his first season at the helm.

Wins and losses not withstanding, Goodvin has savored his first season as the Bobcats’ head coach. Class 4A No. 2 West Des Moines Valley (7-1, 4-0) visits Leonard Cole Field on Friday night to close out the regular season, and Goodvin will ask the same of his squad for its home finale as he has all fall.

“The one thing I told them is that our record does not define who they are and what they’ve done this season,” Goodvin said. “They’ve done an excellent job. It is a day-by-day thing and they get after it and I’m proud of them.

“They’re a good group of kids and it starts with the seniors. There’s 30 of them and they do a good job of being leaders.”

The Bobcats (1-7, 0-4) will have to withstand a balanced Valley offense that has produced 33 points per game this season. Marshalltown, meanwhile, peaked at 28 points in a loss to Newton in Week 5 and was shut out at Southeast Polk last Friday night.

Goodvin gave his squad a passing grade for its persistent effort to this point, but the inconsistency — both physically and mentally — remains a cause for concern.

“I think all-around we’ve gotten better, but being consistent is a huge thing we’ve struggled with at times,” Goodvin said. “We’ve shot ourselves in the foot a few times, but then we come back out and play our best football, so just finding that consistency has been the issue.

“I think I can speak for the entire coaching staff when I say that we see the improvement every day in practice and it’s been fun to see.”

The Bobcats rank 15th in 4A in passing offense, compiling 1,333 yards so far. Senior quarterback Sam Irwin has amassed 1,299 of them, and stands 43 yards ahead of Valley’s junior signalcaller Beau Lombardi.

But the Tigers butter their bread with a big offensive line and a talented back following in its footsteps. Jevon Mason, a senior, has rushed for 740 yards and 12 touchdowns on 97 carries this season, averaging 7.6 yards per tote. Senior Tariq Brown is Valley’s top pass-catcher, bringing down 40 receptions for 442 yards.

“Lombardi is a good-sized kid and he does a good job of running their offense,” Goodvin said. “Mason is an outstanding running back. These last two weeks of the season we’re going to see two of the best backs in 4A and the state. It’s going to be another challenge for us to stop and they’ve got a lot of talented kids.”

Valley rides a five-game winning streak into Marshalltown this Friday night, though only two of the wins were lopsided. The Tigers trounced Fort Dodge (59-14) and Indianola (35-0) but beat Johnston (27-14), Southeast Polk (41-34) and Newton (38-28) by only two scores.

Marshalltown, however, is trying to avoid its third one-win season in the last five years. The Bobcats’ Week 2 win at Mason City stands as the team’s lone triumph, followed five six-straight losses. MHS has surrendered 43 points or more six times.

“Obviously it’s not where we wanted to be at this point in the year, but the seniors get another chance to get back out there and give it their all and hopefully they can have fun at the same time and the juniors get to go out there and get better and have fun as well,” Goodvin said. “Hopefully we can get out there and have some success and play spoiler on Friday night. I’ve enjoyed it as much as I can in spite of the record. It was a fun year, the kids made it so much fun. I couldn’t ask for better kids out there and I’m just excited to keep it going and I’m pretty upset the season’s coming to an end.”