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Prep football: Marshall romps past Worthington

Les Knutson

Daily Globe

WORTHINGTON —Grinding out 368 yards on the ground in a Southwest Conference high school football game, which was delayed —due to lightning —for nearly two hours, the visiting Marshall Tigers claimed a 33-7 victory over Worthington on a rainy Friday night at Trojan Field.

Marshall, which improved to 3-3 for the season and is now 3-1 in the conference, scored 20 points before the delay and tacked on 13 more later.

Worthington (2-4, 2-2) scored its lone touchdown on a 65-yard burst by sophomore Robert Lovan with three minutes and 21 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter.

The Trojans did, however, hold the Tigers several times in the second half and played well defensively after the delay —which took place with 4:01 left in the second quarter.

“We came out with more energy after regrouping during the break.” WHS head coach Brad Grimmius said. “For sure, we hit harder and —other then two breakdowns when they scored on long runs —we did good job on defense after the delay.”

Linebacker Will Dudley, lineman Zach Kempema and defensive back Jessie Guerra were among the Trojans who had several solid tackles throughout the game.

Tigers score on

first three drives

Facing a stiff east wind in the opening quarter, the Tigers kept the ball on the ground and marched for a pair of touchdowns to take command early.

The Trojans, meanwhile, went three-and-out on their first three possessions.

Marshall’s first six points came on a 23-yard run by Sam Marshall (14 carries, 145 yards) following a first-play 44-yard scamper by quarterback Brad Bahlmann, who finished with a game-high 158 yards rushing.

Marshall also ran in for the two-point conversion, giving the Tigers an 8-0 edge with 10:02 left in the first quarter.

The lead became 14-0 at the 4:06 mark when Bahlmann capped an eight-play, 69-yard drive with a one-yard TD run.

Bahlmann and Marshall each had long gains on the drive, as the Tigers effectively ran the ball behind a strong offensive line led by highly-recruited offensive tackle Tyus DeBoer.

DeBoer, the son of well-known basketball referee Kevin DeBoer, is Marshall’s only returning starter and will be visiting the campus of North Dakota State University this month. He is listed at 6-5, 275 on the Tigers’ roster.

“He, along with Jackson County Central’s Nolan Hohenstein, is among the best linemen in the league,” said Grimmius about DeBoer. “We knew Marshall was going to run behind him and we did have some trouble handling his size.”

After the Trojans had a first-down pass play from Dudley to Will Mulder negated by a holding penalty, Marshall sophomore Andrew Hmielewski rambled 41 yards on a punt return off a fake reverse, putting the Tigers on the Worthington 30-yard stripe.

Two plays, the quarter ended and Marshall had the wind at its back.

Bahlmann (three-of-six passing for 52 yards) completed a 12-yarder to Hmielewski and Jack Bock ran six yards before completing Marshall’s third TD drive with a two-yard burst into the end zone.

The Trojans stopped Marshall’s two-point try after the second touchdown and blocked the extra-point kick attempt after the Tigers’ third score.

Trailing 20-0, Worthington picked up its initial first down of the game on a strong 21-yard run by Dudley on an option right.

But a Trojan penalty and a sack by DeBoer stalled the drive and Marshall had possession when a flash of lightning sent the players and fans off the field before halftime.

Action continues with a swing of events

Following the long break, Bahlmann broke off another long run, moving the Tigers towards the goal line.

Two plays later, the Trojans made a big defensive play when linebacker Joey Mills delivered a crushing tackle on Bahlmann, knocking the ball loose.

Cody Ober recovered for the Trojans at the Worthington 10-yard line.

Marcus Potter ripped off a seven-yard gain for the Trojans, but another tackle for a loss by the Tigers forced Mulder’s fourth punt of the game.

On Marshall’s next possession, an apparent fumble —which was recovered and returned (for a possible touchdown) by Worthington defensive end Trevor Wietzema —was ruled an incomplete pass.

The Tigers maintained possession and two plays later, Marshall caught a short shovel pass from Bahlmann and sprinted 24 yards for the game’s fourth touchdown.

A strong 18-yard run by sophomore back Nick Saugstad preceded the Bahlmann to Marshall TD pass.

Paul Citrowske’s PAT kick made the score 27-0 with 23 seconds remaining in the second quarter.

“That was a possible 14-point swing,” noted Grimmius. “We don’t get a touchdown (off the play if it’s ruled a fumble) and then —a couple of plays later —they still have the ball and break one for another score.”

A short half-time followed and both teams played evenly most of the third quarter.

Dudley, who was all over the field on defense, made numerous solo stops and both Guerra and Kempema came up with some fine open-field tackles.

Worthington held the Tigers on a couple of Marshall possessions and had a genuine offensive highlight when Dudley broke loose on a 27-yard run, squirming and spinning his way through and past numerous tackle attempts.

“Will’s effort was up on top, like it always is,” praised Grimmius of his fine all-around senior leader.”

The Tigers did score again late in the third quarter when Marshall snapped off a 49-yard run down the right side line, putting the visitors up 33-0 with 54 seconds left in the period.

Reserves played much of the fourth quarter for both teams.

Among Worthington’s late-game highlights were a defensive take-away (forced fumble and recovery) by Wietzema, a 10-yard gain by sophomore running back Zach Bruns and a strong catch-and-run by sophomore Nate Russell (from quarterback Logan Thuringer) which picked up 20 yards before being negated by a Trojan holding penalty.

And, of course, Lovan’s touchdown dash, which was aided by some solid blocking —both at the line of scrimmage and downfield —by the Trojans.

Mulder was perfect on the extra-point kick, completing the game’s scoring.

Worthington is on the road next week, traveling to Pipestone for a Friday conference clash with the Arrows (3-4, 2-3).

Marshall 14 13 6 0 — 33

Worthington 0 0 0 7 — 7