Bobcat football preparing for Mason City’s bulk up front
For the third week in a row, the Marshalltown football team will have to prepare for a first-year head coach.
Now at the helm of the Mason City (0-2) Brandon Krusey who was previously at Davenport North. Krusey has also served as a head coach at Independence, Grundy Center and North Tama.
Last season, Davenport North finished 5-4 under Krusey as his Wildcats’ offense averaged 13.8 points per game and his defense allowed 21.8 ppg.
According to Marshalltown head coach Adam Goodvin, the biggest difference in Mason City is the offense.
“Right now they are trying to spread it,” Goodvin said. “They have a new scheme with a new head coach. That’s not typical of Mason City in recent years. The first thing that I noticed with Mason City is that they have some speed. They have got some speed with their skill guys. They have got some great size on their offensive and defensive line. It could cause some problems. I think a lot of them are back from last year. They are some real big guys that are hard to move around.
“They are a young football team [with a] brand-new defense [and] brand-new offense. It’ll be a challenge for us. It’ll be a brand-new Mason City.
The biggest factor for Mason City is its starting linemen. The Mohawks have been without 6-foot-5, 303-pound junior Ben Pederson, but even without him, Mason City’s starting linemen an average size of 6-1 and 249 pounds. With Pederson, who could make his return this week, the Mohawks jump to an average of 6-3 and 280 pounds.
“Their offensive, defensive line has some real big guys on their roster,” Goodvin said. “Not many teams that we see this year have that size. We are going to have to wear those guys down to have a chance in this game and be successful. Those are some guys just by size that can play some football.”
At quarterback, Mason City has relied on sophomore James Jennings. Jennings is 19-for-39 passing for 227 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions with 15 yards on the ground to accompany his throwing stats.
“[Jennings] can run the ball and is athletic,” Goodvin said. “He is not very big but he does a great job of extending plays and finding his receivers downfield. He’s only a sophomore but he has got some talent. He’s young but you can tell he is a good athlete.”
On the ground, Mason City averages 2.5 yards per carry with no touchdowns. Alex Kinney is the team’s leading rusher with 79 yards on 13 carries. Wide receiver Carter Thomas leads with 130 yards on seven catches with a touchdown.
Defensively, the Mohawks have given up a total 119 points in two games — an average 59.5 points per game.
“[Mason City] has struggled recently,” Goodvin said. “I think they are definitely hungry to get a win. We have to prepare like we are going to get their best game because I’m sure we will and we have to be ready. It’s football [so] anything can happen and our guys know that.”
For Marshalltown, the focus for its offense has been protecting the football after fumbling eight times last week at Ottumwa while continuing to develop cleaner football.
“It’s no secret the kids know they need to hold onto the football,” Goodvin said. “They are not out there trying to fumble. We are doing some more ball-handling drills in practice just to clean some things up. I was really proud of how they responded. It could have been easy to just fold after putting the ball on the ground eight times and losing it three. It’s just sloppy football. They know that and they know that we need to be cleaner this week.
“Most of [Mason City’s] guys go both ways and play both sides of the football. If we can be physical, if we can execute and we can wear them down then I think I like our chances. It puts us in a position to be successful and hopefully come out on top.”
Marshalltown will travel to Mason City on Friday with kickoff set for 7 p.m.