Bobcats’ climb continues

Marshalltown boys soccer coach Creighton Jenness knows he’s starting to sound like a broken record.

But what he is saying checks out. When the Bobcats play possession-style soccer, they are pretty tough to beat. When they don’t, they are usually forced to play from behind.

Class 3A No. 14 Marshalltown trailed Southeast Polk at halftime but got things going in time to escape with a 2-1 win over the Rams in the Substate 8 semifinals Wednesday at Leonard Cole Field.

“We did adjust some things at halftime but the issue again is they just don’t listen to me,” Jenness said. “When we get really good possession and move the ball fast, we do great. We had a great first five minutes and then we went downhill. I don’t know what I need to do to get them to be better at that.”

The Bobcats beat Southeast Polk 1-0 earlier this season but found themselves down by that same margin at halftime Wednesday.

Marshalltown got a quick goal from Ellis Buchwald into the first 5 minutes of the second half to tie the match and then junior Martin Chavarria scored the game-winning goal with 1:24 left.

“He got the ball and he dribbled through a bunch of players and put it in,” Jenness said of Chavarria’s game-winner. “It’s not how you draw it up on the board, but he put it in the back of the net. That’s good.”

The win pushes the Bobcats to the substate final against No. 7 Dowling Catholic. That game will be played at Dowling at noon Saturday. The Maroons needed a penalty kick goal in the second overtime to surge past Waukee, 2-1, at home Wednesday.

“I think we played about 7-10 minutes of good soccer tonight, and we can’t do that and expect to win against Dowling,” Jenness said. “We need to play about 60-70 good minutes.”

The Bobcats tied the game in the 45th minute. Chavarria’s free kick just outside the goalie box deflected off Southest Polk goalkeeper Carter Wright, but David Gomez corralled the miss, took control of the ball and found Ellis Buchwald in front of the net for the easy tally.

“We have a couple of set pieces that we still haven’t run yet, but we had a chance to do something with that opportunity and found a way to score,” Jenness said.

That goal started a flurry of great offensive opportunities for the Bobcats. But Marshalltown (16-2) couldn’t go ahead until the final two minutes.

Chavarria, tied atop Class 3A in goals scored, made an impressive individual effort, dribbling through and around several Ram defenders and then pasted the shot past Wright.

“Ever since I saw 10 minutes on the clock, I knew I had to do something to make the team win,” Chavarria said. “I knew what I was doing. Everyone was yelling ‘shoot, shoot, shoot and pass, pass, pass.’ All I had in mind was shooting it and scoring the goal.”

Chavarria did not start the game because he received extra attention on a tender ankle. Gomez also missed the entire first half due to violation of team rules.

“We talked about it. He knows what happened, and we’re moving on,” Jenness said. “They are young men and sometimes they make decisions that need consequences.”

The Bobcats were a much different – and better – team with Gomez on the field in the second half. He set up the Buchwald goal with a nice centering pass and kept the Bobcats on the offensive end of the field for much of the second half.

Kreighton Miller had five saves for Marshalltown, which out-shot Southeast Polk 22-14 in the match but only had four shots on goal in the first 40 minutes.

“We played too individual in the first half, but we did better with possession in the second half,” Chavarria said. “It all starts with the warmups. If we start slow in the warmups, then we’ll start slow in the game. We need to come ready to play from the start. We need to play hard and possess the ball.”


Southeast Polk beat Des Moines Hoover 1-0 on Tuesday to advance to Wednesday’s semifinal round. … Federico Gessi put the Rams ahead in the first half with his second goal of the season. … SE Polk’s Addison Shrum and Marshalltown’s David Gomez were both issued yellow cards with just more than 11 minutes to go in the match. Chavarria also was given a yellow card after removing his jersey following his game-winning goal. … Buchwald now has seven goals on the season, while Gomez recorded his sixth assist. … Wright stopped seven shots in goal for the Rams, which ended its season at 8-8-1.