By Jeff Arenz
MARSHALL - It was the seniors who did most of the scoring for the Marshall Tigers on Senior Night.
Photo by Jeff Arenz
Marshall back Sam Marshall looks for room to run behind the blocking of Tim Amick (39) and Brent Andries during the Tigers’ 28-7 SWC victory Wednesday night.
Senior backs Austin Kesteloot, Jeremiah Barker and Jordan Prellwitz all ran for touchdowns as Marshall defeated Windom Area 28-7 in a Southwest Conference game Wednesday at Mattke Field at Schwan Regional Event Center.
"We had 11 seniors who stuck it out with our football program for four years," Tigers head coach Terry Bahlmann said. "I am proud of those guys for being here, and I wanted to make sure those senior running backs scored a touchdown tonight."
MHS (5-3 overall, 5-1 SWC) will likely be the third seed in the Class 4A Section 2 Tournament, when the postseason draw is announced today. MHS would play host to New Ulm (0-8) in the quarterfinal round Tuesday.
"It took us a while to get going this season because we had to replace 21 starters," Bahlmann said. "We have improved from where we started; we're doing some things better right now, but there is still room for improvement."
MHS outgained the Eagles in total yards, 264-186, including a 163-27 advantage in rushing yards. The Tigers had 64 plays and possessed the ball for 29 minutes, 36 seconds. Windom Area had 40 plays and held the ball for 18:24.
"We controlled the ballgame with our defense, which gave us three interceptions," Bahlmann said. "I think we had a 17-play drive and a 16-play drive on offense. Those are good things because converted some long-yardage situations."
The Tigers were nearly unstoppable on third and fourth downs. Marshall converted 10 of 17 third-down chances and were successful on four of five fourth-down opportunities.
Marshall covered 69 yards on the game's opening possession to build an 8-0 lead. That drive was capped by quarterback Brad Bahlmann's 40-yard TD pass to Andrew Hmielewski on fourth-and-seven.
"It was a great pass from our quarterback because the ball came right into my hands. After that, it was just speed," said Hmielewski, who beat his defender into the near side of the end zone.
Brad Bahlmann ran for a two-point conversion with 8:12 left in the first quarter.
Windom Area moved the ball downfield quickly on its first possession. Quarterback Zach Bartosh completed a 41-yard pass to Jacob Gotto as the Eagles were perched at the Marshall 21. After Windom Area advanced inside the red zone, the Tigers defense went to work.
On first-and-goal from inside the 5, Reece Winkelman and Colin VanKeulen sacked Barton for a 6-yard loss. Then, one play later, Sam Marshall intercepted Bartosh, who was attempting to throw the ball into the end zone.
The turnover came back to haunt the Eagles on Marshall's ensuing possession.
The Tigers, who covered 86 yards on 17 plays, held the ball for 8:15 before Kesteloot charged into the end zone from 3 yards out. Paul Citrowske's PAT hit the right upright as MHS led 14-0 with 9:35 left in the first half.
Marshall kept its drive alive by converting a pair of third-and-longs. Brad Bahlmann connected with Sam Marshall for 21 yards on third-and-16 from the Tigers' 30 before the receiver ran for 21 yards on third-and-19 from the MHS 42.
Windom Area was forced to punt after gaining no yards on its next three offensive plays, but a penalty for a false start on fourth down meant the Eagles had to punt the ball twice on that drive.
Hmielewski burned Windom Area on its second punting attempt by returning the ball 58 yards to the Eagles' 22.
Seven plays later, the Tigers went ahead 21-0 after Barker fell into the end zone from two yards out as 5:52 remained in the first half.
Windom Area's first drive of the second half ended on Hmielewski's interception of Bartosh and four-yard return to the Marshall 42. It sparked another long drive by MHS, which used 16 plays to advance the ball 58 yards and took 7:36 off the clock.
Prellwitz scored from two yards out on his third rushing attempt inside the Eagles' 5 to put MHS up 28-0.
"I was glad to be able to score (a touchdown) on Senior Night," Prellwitz said. "I made sure that I got one this year."
In the fourth quarter, Windom Area failed to cash in a fumble by the Tigers with 10:40 left. The Eagles ran three plays before Bartosh was intercepted for the third time - this one by Nick Saugstad, who returned the ball 34 yards.
MARSHALL 28, WINDOM AREA 7
Windom Area 0 0 0 7 - 7
Marshall 8 13 7 0 - 28
M-Andrew Hmielewski 40 pass from Brad Bahlmann (Brad Bahlmann conversion run), 8:12.
M-Austin Kesteloot 3 run (Paul Citrowske kick failed), 9:35.
M-Jeremiah Barker 2 run (Paul Citrowske kick), 5:52.
M-Jordan Prellwitz 2 run (Paul Citrowske kick), 1:12.
WA-Jacob Gotto 9 pass from Zach Bartosh (Luis Ramirez kick), 3:12.
RUSHING - Marshall (Sam Marshall 12-76, Brad Bahlmann 13-31, Jack Bock 6-16, Austin Kesteloot 5-15, Jordan Prellwitz 4-7, Matt Thompson 4-6, Jeremiah Barker 2-5, Andrew Hmielewski 1-4, Jacob Deines 1-3, Max Roelfsema 1-0).
PASSING - Marshall (Brad Bahlmann 9-15-101-1-0, Aaron Polejewski 0-0-0-0-0, Jacob Deines 0-0-0-0-0).
RECEIVING - Marshall (Andrew Hmielewski 4-61, Sam Marshall 3-21, Jacob Falconer 1-19, Kier Gach 1-0).
TACKLES - Marshall (Sam Marshall 4.5, Collin Reilly 4.0, Max Roelfsema 3.5, Hunter Greve 3.5, Jason Polzin 3.0, John Lothert 2.5, Colin VanKeulen 2.0, Brad Bahlmann 2.0, Reece Winkelman 1.5, Tyus DeBoer 1.5, Andrew Hmielewski 1.5, Nick Saugstad 1.0, Brandon Deutz 1.0, Tom Roelfsema 1.0, Nick Crowley 0.5, Cody Kruger 0.5, Kyle Wischer 0.5, Joe Sullivan 0.5, P.J. Bot 0.5).
SACKS - Marshall (none).
INTERCEPTIONS - Marshall (Sam Marshall, Andrew Hmielewski, Nick Saugstad).