PELLA - The Marshalltown football team is a work in progress.
There was no better evidence of that than Friday night against Pella as the Dutch scored the first 38 points, racked up 245 rushing yards and blasted the Bobcats at home, 38-13, to open the 2013 season.
"We feel really good about our team this year," Pella coach Jay McKinstrey said. "We have some kids that have played before and we have really good team speed. I think we just have really good football athletes, too."
T-R PHOTO BY TROY HYDE
Marshalltown junior Ben Rebik (9) keeps the ball away from Pella wide receiver Will Warner (21) during first-half action in Pella on Friday night. The Dutch scored the first 38 points of the game and beat the Bobcats 38-13 to open the 2013 season.
Marshalltown gained just 10 first downs and tallied 210 total yards in the loss. The Bobcat defense struggled with tackling and surrendered 398 total yards to Class 3A state-ranked Pella.
"The positive to that is that we were in the right position at the right time," Marshalltown coach Aaron Shipley said. "We didn't have a lot of missed assignments or blown coverages. Our challenge now as a staff is to get those guys wrapping up and tackling. That is on my shoulders as the defensive coordinator and we will do a better job of that."
Pella's attacking defense kept the Bobcats' perennial record-setting offense at bay, often pushing through the offensive line for tackles behind the line of scrimmage. The Bobcats rushed for just 43 yards on 19 carries and needed 55 plays to get 210 yards.
Pella 38, Marshalltown 13
Pella - Brent Bortscheller 77 pass from Trevor Argo (Seth Johnson kick), 9:23
Pella - Quinton Murphy 58 interception return (Johnson kick), 3:07
Pella - Lukas Steenhoek 12 run (Johnson kick), 10:45
Pella - Argo 1 run (Johnson kick), 10:02
Pella - Johnson 39 field goal, 6:49
Pella - Noah Clayberg 27 run (Johnson kick), 6:01
MHS - Austin Sowers 13 pass from Dylan Diveney (run failed), 9:28
MHS - Diveney 1 run (Kyler Ladehoff kick), 4:42
RUSHING - MHS: Dylan Diveney 9-28, Austin Sowers 2-10, Joe Rebik 7-4, John Espinoza 1-1; Pella: Noah Clayberg 7-102, Lukas Steenhoek 6-47, Nathan Henry 10-41, Brady Heerema 5-39, Trevor Argo 6-17, Derrick Akers 3-8, Austin Schulte 4-(negative-8).
PASSING - MHS: Diveney 16-30-1-154, Sowers 2-6-0-13; Pella: Argo 6-16-0-134, Clayberg 0-1-0-0, Schulte 1-2-0-19.
RECEIVING - MHS: Sowers 8-79, Grant Thimesch 4-20, Austin Lovin 2-29, Joe Rebik 1-25, Marco Tapia 2-1; Pella: Bryce Bortscheller 3-108, Grant Judkins 1-19, Ben Konfrst 1-10, Seth Johnson 1-12.
"We just have to keep hammering away at assignment football," Shipley said. "We need to make sure we know who to block. It was hard to play our first game against an attacking defense like that, but our young offensive line can't make excuses. They have a job to do and we expect them to do it."
Shipley knows his team will improve. The Bobcats, who started seven sophomores against the Dutch, won't have much time though with another road trip to Class 4A state-ranked Waukee awaiting them next week.
"They will be a very tall task," Shipley said of the Warriors, who lost 23-17 to West Des Moines Valley in their opener Friday. "They have a lot of depth and a lot of talent. The Allen kid is as explosive an athlete as we will see all year. We won't worry too much about them as crazy as that seems. We can't start worrying about things that are out of our control."
Pella needed just three plays to score its first touchdown. The Dutch's first two runs produced zero yards, but a Trevor Argo pass to Bryce Bortscheller was good for 77 yards and the score to put Pella up 7-0.
The Bobcats punted on their first two possessions and then Dylan Diveney's interception on the third possession was taken in for the score from 58 yards out by Quintin Murphy.
After another three and out by Marshalltown, Pella grabbed a three-touchdown lead when Lukas Steenhoek rumbled 12 yards for the score early in the second quarter.
The Bobcats went three and out two more times in the period and also punted on their other possession. Pella though failed to capitalize as Seth Johnson missed two long field attempts to keep the score 21-0 at halftime.
Pella won the game despite being flagged for 14 penalties on the night.
"We made lot of mistakes tonight. The coaches made mistakes too, but a lot of that is just the first game thing," McKinstrey said. "We need to clean that up though. It was way too many penalties."
The Dutch went 53 yards in five plays to open the third quarter. Nathan Henry gashed the Bobcat defense for runs of 16 and 27 yards and then Noah Clayberg got to the Marshalltown 1-yard line with another 16-yard scamper. Argo finished off the drive with a 1-yard TD plunge.
The Bobcats turned it over on downs deep in their own territory on their next two possessions, and the home team wasted no time making Marshalltown pay.
The Dutch settled for a Johnson 38-yard field goal on one of the possessions which started from the Bobcat 27. The second turnover on downs resulted in a Pella touchdown though as Clayberg scored in one play from 27 yards out to ignite the 35-point continuous clock rule.
"I didn't expect to put the 35-point rule into effect," McKinstrey said. "We knew they were young and we knew they lost a lot of kids last year. They are trying to get things built back up and I am sure Coach Shipley will accomplish that."
The Bobcats managed to crack the scoreboard in the fourth quarter.
Diveney led the Bobcats on a 70-yard drive that featured a 20-yard pass to Austin Lovin and a 25-yard completion to Joe Rebik. Austin Sowers also had two catches for 28 yards on the drive and the second one was a 14-yard touchdown grab from Diveney.
The final touchdown of the game for Marshalltown came on its next possession. The drive covered 53 yards and included several short pass plays to Sowers and Grant Thimesch and a 16-yard run by Rebik. Diveney finalized the drive with a 1-yard quarterback sneak.
"It is so important for a squad that is as inexperienced as ours to know what we are talking about and know what we want to see," Shipley said in reference to the two scoring drives in the fourth quarter. "They have to have some sort of a result and some sort of a positive to take from it so we can move forward as a program and keep their heads up. No matter who those points were scored against, it gives us a reference point for how we want things done."
Diveney finished 16-of-30 for 154 yards and an interception. Sowers caught eight passes for 79 yards to lead the receivers.
It won't get any easier for the Bobcats on Friday as they travel to Waukee to take on the state-ranked Warriors, including all-state running back Trevor Allen and all-state defensive end A.J. Allen.
This was only the second time Marshalltown has played Pella in its football history. The Bobcats won the opener last year 31-7. Linebacker Blair Van Staalduine missed the first half due to a violation of team rules. Senior linebacker Derek Mann led the defense with 10 tackles, while Josh Sowers had five. Next week's game at Waukee (0-1) kicks off at 7 p.m.