Different script, same outcome for ’Cats
DES MOINES – Des Moines Hoover had answers for the Marshalltown football team all night.
The Bobcats held three different leads in the game, but the Huskies countered each time and a 74-yard pass play from Brock Larsen to Dejorian Thedford was ultimately the difference.
Larsen threw for 233 yards and two scores and Terion Farely rushed for 119 yards and two touchdowns as Hoover rallied to beat the Bobcats 28-17 after scoring 14 unanswered points in the fourth quarter during a Class 4A Division 3 contest.
The victory gives the Huskies three wins in a season for the first time since 2000. Marshalltown dropped to 0-6 on the year after suffering its first-ever loss to Hoover. The Bobcats also are 0-2 in division play.
“We’ve put a lot of hard work in and it is paying off,” said Hoover coach William Siffin. “It was a little sloppy for my liking, but I’ll take the win. It’s big momentum for us. The school needs it. The community needs it. And it means a lot to a lot of people.”
The sloppiness was to be expected. The field got soaked earlier in the day and provided footing issues all night for both teams. There were a combined 25 penalties in the game. Marshalltown was whistled for 12 flags and 135 penalty yards.
“It’s a major issue,” said MHS coach Aaron Shipley. “It was an issue last week. We thought we addressed it, but we clearly didn’t. The coaching staff just needs to keep harping on the kids and the kids have got to get better. The program has to get better as a whole.”
The Bobcats held leads of 3-0, 10-7 and 17-14 in the first three quarters but Hoover’s big play offense stunned the Marshalltown defense with the long passing play to Thedford in the fourth quarter. The Huskies started the drive on their own 9-yard line after a big punt by Dylan Diveney.
After an incompletion on the first play, Larsen found Thedford for 15 yards to gain a first down. The other 74 yards came on the next play to Thedford as Larsen hit the junior wideout in stride and Thedford sprinted down the MHS sideline for the score.
“It’s been the story of our season. We do two or three good things and then we have one breakdown and it ends up being a backbreaker for us,” Shipley said. “We just have to learn how to win. We can’t put that into a formula. We just have to experience it.”
Siffin wanted to create a big-play attack when he took the job at Hoover. His Huskies were able to do that Friday, scoring on touchdowns of 17, 28 and 74 yards on the night.
“That is what I wanted to bring to the school was an explosive offense,” Siffin said. “We are a pretty thin team so pounding the ball down the field is not going to be our style. The kids are buying in, and we got some of the talent from the basketball team, and it’s starting to pay off all around.”
The Huskies came into the game as the second-best passing offense in Class 4A but also showed it can run the ball some, too. Farely averaged nearly 6 yards per carry and reached the end zone twice on the night. Hoover got 108 yards on the ground and gained 341 in all.
“We’re giving up an average of six yards per carry this season so it doesn’t surprise me that teams will try to establish the run against us,” Shipley said. “I would do that same thing against us. Until we stop the run, I would anticipate every team running it at us.”
Austin Kluver’s 36-yard field goal on Marshalltown’s second possession of the game gave the Bobcats their first lead.
Hoover then went 62 yards in 14 plays on its next drive to take the lead. Two completions from Larsen to Toliver totaled 45 yards and Farely’s 3-yard run made it 7-3 with 24 seconds left in the first frame.
Neither team would score again until the Bobcats regained an advantage on their final drive of the half.
Hoover sacked Diveney on the first play of the sequence but a 19-yard pass to Austin Sowers on third down extended the drive and 16- and 8-yard runs by Diveney got the Bobcats closer. The senior quarterback eventually capped the possession with a 1-yard plunge to give the Bobcats a 10-7 lead at halftime.
Diveney threw for 182 yards, rushed for 38 and scored two times on the ground. Sowers caught eight passes for 137 yards and also completed two passes to Diveney for 15 yards.
Hoover wasted no time regaining the lead in the third quarter. The Huskies went 74 yards in six plays on their first possession of the second half and capped the drive with a 28-yard touchdown pass from Larsen to Toliver.
The Bobcats then went 60 yards in 10 plays to grab their third lead of the game. Diveney hit Sowers on two completions for 39 yards and eventually put MHS in front with a 7-yard touchdown run. The Huskies kept the Bobcat drive alive when they jumped offsides on fourth and two.
Larsen threw his only interception of the game on the Huskies’ next drive. Austin Lovin came up with the pick to preserve the lead, but went three-and-out on their next possession to open the door for Hoover (2-3, 1-1).
The Huskies could not use that momentum on their next drive but forced the Bobcats into another three-and-out. Hoover then put together the 91-yard scoring drive to take the lead for good and then put the game out of reach 3 minutes later after Farely ran it in from 17 yards out.
“Any time they are running the ball as well as they did, there is no reason to throw the ball,” Shipley said. “It was no surprise that they were able to be two-dimensional against us.”
Marshalltown’s final five possessions resulted in three three-and-outs and two turnover on downs.
The Bobcat defense forced Larsen into one interception and also sacked him three times. The unit played well for the most part but gave up way too many big plays. Blair Van Staalduine had two sacks, while Connor Overstake also had a sack.
There was a long delay in the fourth quarter as Bobcat senior Joey Pittman was carted off the field and taken away in an ambulance after suffering a neck injury. Shipley said he expects him to be fine and the ambulance is standard protocol. “Anytime they have neck issues, it’s an automatic go to the hospital and have X-rays taken,” Shipley said. “It’s the standard protocol, they don’t take any chances.” A similar injury occurred to junior varsity quarterback Peyton Williams on Thursday. The sophomore signalcaller was taken away in ambulance after suffering a concussion and a neck injury. He was released from the hospital last night and will start “return to play” protocol immediately. The Bobcats will try to get their first win next week at home against Ankeny Centennial. The Jaguars (3-3) lost to top-ranked Dowling Catholic on Friday. “They are pretty darn good,” said Shipley. “They are one of the better teams in the state. They are extremely well-coached, fundamentally sound and don’t make mistakes. It will be a big challenge for us.”