MARSHALL - Starting the season 0-2, the Marshall football team was looking for positives going into its Southwest Conference opener against Luverne on Friday.
The Tigers found just what they were looking for in a 22-7 win over the Cardinals.
"We knew they had good size, defensively, but they were playing a lot of guys both ways," said Marshall head coach Terry Bahlmann. "We wanted to make them run and chase a bit. We wanted to try and wear them down."
Photo by Alex Oey
Marshall defensive back Drew Hmeilewski forces Luverne wideout Logan Norman to fumble the ball after making a catch in the second quarter of a Southwest Conference football game Friday at The Schwan Regional Event Center.
Marshall (1-2, 1-0 Southwest) started out strong, driving 85 yards before settling for a 30-yard field goal from Paul Citrowske to make it a 3-0 game.
"Paul is another soccer player that's coming out," Bahlmann said. "He eeked that one in, got just enough to make it count. That's a big play."
After the field goal, the teams traded punts and Luverne (2-1, 1-1 Southwest) ground out a 15-play, 65-yard drive that was capped with a Andrew Verhey 1-yard plunge, giving the Cardinals the lead. The extra point was good, making it a 7-3 game with 6:11 left in the half.
The Tigers, who had trouble regrouping earlier in the season, found themselves facing 4th-and-7 from their own 27.
Brad Bahlmann took the snap and dropped a perfect pass into the hands of Matt Thompson as he crossed the goal line, giving Marshall the 9-7 lead with a little less than 3 minutes left in the half.
"I was thinking Drew (Hmielewski) was going to be open," said Thompson. "I was going to be that second open receiver, so I played my heart out."
The Tigers pinned the Cardinals down and forced them to punt with 31 seconds left on the clock, allowing Marshall to take the lead into the half.
"I thought our defense played really well tonight," said Coach Bahlmann. "They gave us a chance to score."
The Tigers controlled the third quarter with a strong defensive effort, including an interception from Tyus DeBoer.
"I was reading screen and just happened to be in the right place at the right time," DeBoer said.
Though they held Luverne in their own half of the field, the Tigers were unable to take advantage, offensively, turning the ball over twice on downs.
"We had great field position there. We had some chances, but didn't convert on some plays," Coach Bahlmann said. "Our kids competed hard. We made some mistakes, but we battled all night long."
For the Tigers, who have been held to six total points in the second half this season, the fourth quarter was pivotal.
After the Cardinals botched a punt snap, the Tigers found themselves on the Luverne 25-yard line.
After converting a fourth-and-one and a 3rd-and-10, Bahlmann ran three straight keepers, finally breaking across from the one to put the Tigers up even farther. Citrowske converted the extra point and drew a running into the kicker penalty, putting Marshall up 16-7.
"We were fired up," said Coach Bahlmann. "We thought we would end it right there."
Luverne was unable to regroup its offensive attack, getting called for two penalties and fumbling the ball on their first three plays.
After gaining some breathing room, an illegal touch call negated a first down and lost them a down, resulting in a fourth-and-14.
A bad snap and Marshall's Reece Winkelman ran down the Cardinal quarterback, giving the Tigers another short field from the Luverne 14-yard line.
Sam Marshall took over, running the ball four straight times, capping the night with a 1-yard dive to put Marshall up 22-7, where the game would end with the Tiger's first win of the season.
"I was thinking one of them would break through," said Marshall. "It solidified the win."
"Our offensive line did a good job tonight," Coach Bahlmann said. "I thought those guys stepped up and did a nice job for us. It shows we can run the football when we need to."
The Tigers will travel to Pipestone Area and to continue their bid to defend their Southwest Conference title.
"We competed hard, we got a W," said Coach Bahlmann. "We need to keep getting better every week. We're learning as we go. We need to play physical and take care of the football."
MARSHALL 22, LUVERNE 7
Luverne0 7 0 0 - 7
Marshall 3 6 0 13 - 22
M - Paul Citrowske 30 field goal, 4:38
L - Andrew Verhey 1 run (Omar Martinez kick), 6:11
M - Matt Thompson 27 pass from Brad Bahlmann (kick failed), 2:48
M - Bahlmann 1 run (Citrowske kick), 6:56
M - Sam Marshall 1 run (kick failed), 2:06
INDIVIDUAL MARSHALL STATISTICS
Rushing - Bahlmann 16-62, Marshall 16-54, Jack Bock 7-25, Nick Saugstad 2-3, Max Roelfsema 1-0, Aaron Polejewski 1-0, Drew Hmielewski 1-minus 2.
Passing (comp-att-yards-int) - Bahlmann 5-11-52-1.
Receiving - Marshall 2-16, Hmielewski 2-8, Matt Thompson 1-27.
Tackles - Jason Polzin 6.5, Colin VanKeulen 5.5, Hunter Greve 4, Tyus DeBoer 3.5, Collin Reilley 3.5.
INTERCEPTION - DeBoer.