Bobcats snakebitten by No. 6 Dodgers
Fort Dodge finds a way around Marshalltown in 22-21 Homecoming heartbreaker
Marshalltown head coach Adam Goodvin was briefly at a loss for words after Friday night’s chaotic Homecoming loss for the Bobcats at the hands of Class 4A No. 7 Fort Dodge.
The game had dozens of penalties, missed two-point conversions and mistakes at critical moments for both teams. But the Dodgers (4-0) snuck away with a 22-21 win, dooming the Bobcats to a 1-3 record on the season.
When Goodvin found the words to describe what just happened, he was still a little struck by how the game turned out.
“I was kinda speechless,” Goodvin said. “The first thing that popped into my head was how proud I am of their effort and how together they played. Our theme of the week was being the best teammate you could possibly be, and we saw guys out there picking each other up and playing for each other, and that’s huge.”
Marshalltown took an early lead thanks to a nine-yard touchdown run by Mannie Kparyea on a fly sweep — a play the Bobcats used six times to great effect, netting Kparyea a team-high 81 yards. Gannon Williams picked off Fort Dodge quarterback Connor Carver to set up the drive, and Keaghan Gorsuch caught a 40-yard pass to help put the Bobcats in scoring position.
The Bobcats were under pressure late in the quarter, as the Dodgers got all the way to the Marshalltown 5 before penalties and a good pass rush forced turnovers on downs.
In the second quarter, the Bobcats again turned Fort Dodge over on downs in the red zone. It wasn’t until there were under two minutes left in the first half that the Dodgers got on the scoreboard. Using a similar play to the one Marshalltown used to score, the Dodgers got within one point and failed a two-point conversion attempt. The Bobcats led 7-6 at the halftime break.
Goodvin had kind words for the defense’s display.
“The defense played outstanding,” Goodvin said. “I said it a couple times earlier this year, you know, they gave us a great chance to win a football game. I thought we took strides in all phases of the football game and I just think it came down to too many mistakes.”
The game teetered on the edge of chippiness for most of the action, with numerous personal fouls and unsportsmanlike conduct penalties called on both teams at the end of plays. Twice, personal fouls offset each other. The amount of penalties called stopped either team from establishing a consistent rhythm on offense.
Early in the second half, backed up against his own end zone, a snap escaped the hands of Marshalltown quarterback Dalen Huston. The ball was picked up by Nick Rebik, who tried valiantly to escape the end zone but was tackled for a safety. Marshalltown trailed 8-7.
The next possession, Carver was intercepted by Rebik. The ensuing possession had two more big runs from Kparyea before Dominick Garth found his way to the end zone from two yards out. The conversion pass from Rebik to Williams was successful.
Fort Dodge leaned heavily on running back Jon Presswood for yards, as he carried the ball 36 times for a game-high 175 yards and two touchdowns. He scored early in the fourth quarter to trim the deficit to one, but the two-point attempt was thwarted. Marshalltown held the slim 15-14 advantage.
Presswood scored again for Fort Dodge with 3:35 to play, and a two-point conversion put the Dodgers up 22-15.
After starting their next drive at midfield, Dalen Huston and the Bobcats drove quickly down the field, aided by a pass interference call and a 25-yard run from Rebik. Garth scored on the next play.
Holder Ziek Slocum had gone off injured on the last drive, so the Bobcats elected to go for two and the lead. It was unsuccessful — putting the onus on the defense to make a stop.
The Bobcat defense did make a stop — but one final mistake cost them the game, as the defense jumped offsides on a fourth-and-four play. With no timeouts left, that was the game. It’s now five straight victories for the Dodgers in the series.
Marshalltown hosts Valley next Friday, but before then the Bobcats will have to shake off a difficult defeat to take.
“Doesn’t get any tougher than that,” Goodvin said.