Bobcats’ clash with Bulldogs hits home for Goodvin

T-R GRAPHIC

Every time a team steps onto the field it’s looking for a win, but there might be a little extra motivation for the Marshalltown football team and head coach Adam Goodvin this week.

The Bobcats host Ottumwa for their home opener on Friday night, where Goodvin played his high school ball. The Bulldogs’ defensive coordinator is also Brian Goodvin, Adam’s dad, which has caused a bit of a rivalry in the Goodvin household.

“It’ll be fun, it’ll be a really cool experience,” Adam, who runs the offense and will call plays against his father on Friday, said. “Once we found out we were on each other’s schedule last spring our conversations changed a lot. It went from football almost every day to we haven’t been able to talk football since then, so it’ll be nice once the game is over to be able to talk with him about some scheme-type things. It’ll be interesting, I’m excited.”

Outside of the close ties to the team the head coach has, MHS has plenty to be excited about when it takes on Ottumwa.

For the first time since 2015 the Bobcats have a winning record after defeating Des Moines North in week one, 50-26. The last time Marshalltown won its first game of the year it followed with another win in week two, and Goodvin said they’ve made some adjustments to make sure that happens again this season.

“Coming out of Friday night we knew we had a lot of mistakes we had to get cleaned up and the good thing is the kids knew that too and they are taking responsibility and fixing those,” Goodvin said. “We talked about it a lot on Monday through film and in practice we’ve seen a lot of those mistakes fixed so hopefully we can transfer that to the field on Friday.”

It was a new offensive system that led the Bobcats to a win in week one, a system that relies heavily on a strong rushing game. Marshalltown had 328 yards on the ground in its week-one win, led by Derrick Garth’s 131 yards and three touchdowns. That was nearly half of the total rushing yards in 2017, but Goodvin said there’s plenty more left for the team to cook up.

“It was nothing fancy at all, we ran our base plays and got a lot of work on that,” he said. “Obviously after watching film we saw the mistakes we made and after what I’ve seen this week we’ve cleaned those up. It all comes down to who makes the least amount of mistakes, and that’s our goal going into Friday night’s game.”

The second week of a season is always an important one because it’s the first week that teams can really delve into film study. Goodvin said having film of his opponent from the previous week is a boon, but the ability to review what his team did and didn’t do well is more beneficial.

“It’s huge because we want to worry about ourselves first and get the best we possibly can at our schemes and the little things that we do,” she said. “Then obviously having film on our opponent, it’s nice to have. Especially with what Ottumwa is doing, they have a brand new offense from what they’ve done the past few years and they had some success with that on Burlington.”

The Bulldogs also ran the ball well in their week-one victory over Burlington, going for 248 yards on the ground and three touchdowns.

Marshalltown was excellent against the run against Des Moines North though, allowing just 39 yards and no touchdowns on 28 attempts. Goodvin said his front seven was the catalyst of that stifled run game, despite a heavy workload.

“A lot of our front seven went both ways, so they got a little worn out but I told them Monday as we were conditioning that we have to be more conditioned than the teams we play because we are so thin,” he said. “They get that and they are working on that, it just forces us to be a little tougher than we could be if we had more depth.”

There will be a little extra depth for the Bobcats on Friday with senior Jonathan McKeever, last season’s leading returning tackler, making his season debut after missing week one with a shoulder issue.

“We know what McKeever can do and we are going to ease him in,” Goodvin said. “We’re not going to try to ruin that shoulder and have him out for the rest of the year, so we will ease him back.”

McKeever will provide an instant boost to a defense that also caused three turnovers in the first game.

Ottumwa possesses an opportunistic passing attack, as it had seven completions for 111 yards and two touchdowns. Bulldog quarterback Eli McDaniel got one 38-yard touchdown to Isaiah Carter through the air and another 34-yard strike for a score to Bryan Cordova, and considering the MHS defense gave up passing touchdowns of 46 and 26 yards last week, Goodvin said the backfield needs to have a stronger showing.

“They are going to rely on the run, try to develop a run game before they set up the pass,” Goodvin said. “They didn’t have a lot of success throwing the ball last Friday but they had one of their athletes out wide and he ran by a guy. That’s football, that happens, so we have to be prepared for that. They might try to lull us to sleep then hit one over the top, so our D-backs have to be disciplined enough for that.”

The pass game wasn’t nearly as effective as the rush for Marshalltown against the Polar Bears, with quarterback Jacob Smith going 3-for-12 with 67 yards and an interception. Smith had some good balls that were dropped by receivers or called out of bounds in the first half, then in the second found Dylan Eygabroad and Jonathan Hernandez each for long strikes that set up touchdown runs, and Goodvin said he sees the growth between the new quarterback and receivers continuing into week two.

“Our receivers do a great job and they are not out there trying to drop the ball. I think every pass play was a combination of a bunch of different things,” he said. “One play Jacob might put a bad throw on it, which doesn’t happen often but it happens. Another play the receiver drops it, the third play our offensive lineman misses an assignment. That’s been our focus this week is putting it all together and when we do throw the ball we want to be very effective doing it.”

Last season the Bobcats didn’t manage a win at home, so Goodvin said having an opportunity to not only record the first home win of his short tenure as head coach and an opportunity to move to 2-0 is more than enough motivation for the guys on the field. And of course a win over his father and his alma mater would be nice too.

“We could have gone about with our first-week win in two ways,” he said. “We could have just said, ‘oh, we’re fine,’ and just been complacent, but our kids are out here to get better. That’s the exact attitude you need, and we are looking to go out on Friday and win another football game.

“It’s going to take extreme effort and toughness, we have to be mentally and physically strong. Go out there and expect to win, that’s the attitude you have to have.”

Marshalltown hosts Ottumwa for its home opener on Friday starting at 7 p.m. at Leonard Cole Field.