Controlling the ground game and excelling on special teams, the Marshall football team dominated the Fairmont Cardinals in a 40-14 win on Friday to move to 2-0 on the season.
Taking on Class AAA's second-ranked team, Marshall piled up 289 yards rushing. Colton Citrowske led the charge out of the backfield, rumbling for 137 yards on 22 carries.
"They're a good football team that's been through a lot of battles," Marshall head coach Terry Bahlmann said. "I think we surprised them with how physical we were."
Photo by Leanna Becker/Fairmont Sentinel
Marshall fullback Colton Citrowske (15) motors around offensive tackle Austin Nath (67) as Fairmont linebacker Jay Ruen moves in to make the hit during nonconference football action Friday night at Mahoney Field in Fairmont.
Marshall opened the scoring with a nine-yard touchdown run by Citrowske with 6 minutes, 9 seconds left in the first quarter. The score capped a six-minute drive that saw the Tigers pound the ball between the tackles as they made their way down the field.
Marshall added another score in the second quarter when Brock Baumgarn punched in a two-yard run. Tanner Cirks then hit a 32-yard field goal just before the end of the half to put Marshall up 17-0.
Marshall added a two-yard touchdown run by Rhett Struve and a 42-yard field goal by Cirks in the third quarter to go up 27-0 before Fairmont scored its first points on a 33-yard pass from Mitch Pfingsten to Jay Ruen.
Fairmont scored again early in the fourth quarter when Luke Hested connected with Bryce Holm on a 50-yard touchdown strike, but Marshall had an immediate response, as Struve returned the ensuing kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown.
Struve scored another touchdown on an eight-yard run to cap the scoring.
"A big difference in the game was the kicking game and the return game," Bahlmann said. "Cirks hit two big field goals for us, one right before the half, and Struve had a huge kickoff return right when Fairmont was getting some momentum."
Leo Zerr had two carries for 59 yards for the Tigers, and Struve finished with 13 carries for 41 yards. Marshall quarterback Austin Saugstad was 6 of 12 passing for 79 yards. He connected with Cirks four times for 68 yards.
Holm caught five passes for 97 yards, as Fairmont compiled 247 passing yards between quarterbacks Pfingsten and Hested.
"We shut him down for most of the night," Bahlmann said of Holm. "We just had a couple of breakdowns on him at the end of the third quarter and early in the fourth, but he's a great player. For the most part, I thought we did a good job on him."
The Tigers enter Southwest Conference play next week when they take on Redwood Valley Friday at Mattke Field at the Regional Event Center.
Marshall 7 10 10 13 - 40
Fairmont 0 0 8 6 - 14
M-Colton Citrowske 9 run (Tanner Cirks kick), 6:09.
M-Brock Baumgarn 2 run (Cirks kick), 6:13.
M-Cirks 32 FG, 0:01.
M-Rhett Struve 2 run (Cirks kick), 10:00.
M-Cirks 42 FG, 4:32.
F-Jay Ruen 33 pass from Mitch Pfingsten (Bryce Holm pass from Pfingsten), 2:01.
F-Holm 50 pass from Luke Hested (kick failed), 11:43.
M-Struve 94 kickoff return (pass failed), 11:31.
M-Struve 8 run (Cirks kick), 3:43.
First downs: FHS 11; Marshall 19. Rushing: FHS 20-71; Marshall 49-289. Passing: FHS 15-26-0-247; Marshall 6-12-0-79. Fumbles-lost: FHS 1-0; Marshall 3-0. Penalties: FHS 1-11; Marshall 2-33.
Offense: Rushing: Citrowske (M) 22-137, Leo Zerr (M) 2-59, Struve (M) 13-41, ; Kyle Guetter (F) 4-29, Brandon Martin (F) 8-25. Passing: Pfingsten (F) 8-13-0-162, Hested (F) 7-12-0-85; Austin Saugstad (M) 6-12-0-79. Receiving: FHS: Holm 5-97, Luke Becker 4-41, Ruen 2-43. Marshall: Cirks 4-68, Brock Baumgarn 1-7, Aaron Mathiowetz 1-4.