Jaguars pull away from Bobcats
For an underdog to pull off the upset on the football field, they usually have to play a perfect game, take advantage of their opportunities and not turn the ball over.
The Marshalltown Bobcats had plenty of chances to put Ankeny Centennial away Friday night but failed to cash in on the scoreboard during a 50-14 loss at Leonard Cole Field in a Class 4A Division 3 contest.
The Bobcats trailed 7-6 early in the second quarter and had the ball two different times with the chance to take the lead but punted and threw an interception in the end zone on their two chances.
That allowed the Jaguars to get their offense moving and Centennial (4-3, 2-1) finished with 516 total yards in the victory. The Bobcats trailed 17-6 at the break but got outscored 33-8 in the second half.
“Good teams score and take advantage of their opportunities and turn turnovers into points. We weren’t able to do that and they were,” MHS coach Aaron Shipley said. “If you are looking to build any kind of momentum, you have to do those things. That was the difference in the game.”
The Bobcats have begun the season with seven straight losses. The last time Marshalltown was 0-7 to start a year was when it finished 1-8 in 1988. The Bobcats were 0-9 in back-to-back seasons in 1984 and 1985 and also finished 1-8 in 2000. Those are the only four seasons Marshalltown has won one game or fewer since 1970.
Mason City, the Bobcats’ next opponent, came into this week with just one win but are now 2-5 after blowing out Des Moines Hoover on Friday.
“They are a good team,” Shipley said of the Mohawks. “They are not typically known to be a spread team like they are doing this year. They line up in four- and five-wide and throw it all over the yard this season.”
Against Centennial, Marshalltown had to feel good about its start. The Bobcats forced the Jaguars to punt on their first possession and trailed Centennial 7-6 after eight total possessions.
The Bobcats cracked the scoreboard when Dylan Diveney found Austin Sowers in the end zone on third-and-goal from the 10. The drive covered 68 yards and featured a fake punt that resulted in a 42-yard gain by Diveney.
Centennial fumbled away its next two possessions, but MHS gained just one first down on the ensuing possessions and ended the second drive with a Diveney interception in the end zone.
“He was trying to make a play there,” Shipley said of Diveney. “He is trying so hard to get us points but should have made a better decision with that one.”
The Jaguars did not take long to capitalize on the Bobcat mistake. Jackson Dobesh went 11 yards on the first play and then two plays later – and after two straight offsides penalties by the Bobcats – Centennial made it 14-6 with a 56-yard pass from Isaiah Kramme to Brent Jones.
Kramme threw for 216 yards and a touchdown and rushed for a second TD in the win. Jones had 147 yards and one score on five catches to lead the offense.
“We forced them into the passing game a little bit,” said Shipley. “We wanted to do whatever we could to stop the run, and we knew that that might open up the passing game a little bit. We thought we could overcome that, but we obviously didn’t do that. They made some big plays and beat our guys in space.”
Austin Kluver had a 25-yard reception on the Bobcats’ next possession but the drive stalled with another turnover. This time, Centennial junior Cale Anselme picked off Diveney in Bobcat territory.
Heath Naylor eventually finished off the drive with a 24-yard field goal, and that gave the visitors a 17-6 lead at intermission.
“We knew that we left some points out there, but our kids knew this was a team that we felt like we could compete with,” Shipley said.
Unfortunately for the Bobcats, the Jaguars turned up the intensity in the final two quarters. Centennial scored the first 20 points of the second half and pulled away for an easy win.
Dobesh made it 24-6 with a 40-yard touchdown run before John Ware returned a blocked punt 15 yards for the score. Those two touchdowns came just more than a minute apart. Dobesh added a 14-yard run 6 minutes later to make it 37-6 after three quarters. Dobesh’s second touchdown was aided by a 46-yard run from Bryce Evans, who had 90 yards on four carries in the win.
Dobesh finished with 111 yards and two touchdowns on just 10 carries. The Jaguars ran 43 times for 300 yards in the game and threw for another 216.
“With an offense like Ankeny that is designed to wear you down, those two and three yard gains turned into six and seven yard gains in the second half,” Shipley said. “They wore us down and took advantage of their depth.”
The Bobcats lit up the scoreboard for a second time early in the fourth quarter when Diveney got into space and rumbled down the visitor’s sideline for a 34-yard touchdown. The senior Bobcat rushed 15 times for 89 yards and threw for 94 more yards in the loss.
“He’s a great athlete, and we have been trying all year to get him in space,” Shipley said. “Our offense is designed to put the ball into his hands. We’ll keep trying to do that because when we do, good things happen.”
The momentum for Marshalltown was short-lived though. The Jaguars extended their lead to 29 points when Chris Frazier took the ensuing kickoff back 93 yards for the score. That has been the story of the Bobcats’ season.
“It seems almost inevitable that whenever we get something good going, we almost expect something bad to happen,” said Shipley. “I think that’s a really dangerous thing. When things go bad it starts to compound into more bad things. We need to find a way to eliminate that, and as soon as we can do that, we can talk about really getting over the hump.”
Tyler Pagliai added a 4-yard touchdown run in the final minute to get to the final outcome. The Jaguars overcame their two fumbles and 10 penalties because they converted 6-of-10 on third down, scored twice on special teams and outgained the Bobcats 516-198 in total yards.
The Mason City game Friday also will be played at Leonard Cole Field and will kick off at 7 p.m. The Mohawks beat Hoover 47-7 on Friday for their second straight win. … Shipley moved defensive starters Blair Van Staalduine and Jordan Paone to wide receiver this week to provide a punch on the offensive side of the ball. Van Staalduine had a 5-yard reception in the second half and also had six tackles, two tackles for loss and a sack on defense. … Sophomore tailback Joe Rebik missed the game after suffering a concussion earlier in the week. … Kluver gained 41 yards on three catches to lead the receivers, while Sowers had 29 yards on four catches. Luke Severson recorded two catches for 20 yards as well. … Eight different Jaguars rushed the ball Friday. Kramme’s 10 completions through the air were to four different receivers. … Derek Mann came into the game leading Class 4A in tackles with 80. He finished with eight on Friday, while Austin Lovin recorded 6.5.