MARSHALL - Fans attending tonight's Class 4A Football Section 2 Tournament quarterfinal game between No. 3-seeded Marshall and No. 6-seeded New Ulm might be quite familiar with both head coaches.
The Tigers, who are 5-3 overall under Terry Bahlmann, will face the Eagles, who are 0-8 under head coach and Marshall native Tony Ortmann, at 7 p.m. at The Schwan Regional Event Center.
Bahlmann said he sees a lot of similarities in both teams
"It's a lot like looking at us in the mirror," Bahlmann said. "Their head coach, Tony Ortmann, used to be an assistant here and they run a lot of the same schemes as we do on offense and defense. Their base offense is a slot-T, like ours, and they are a 52 defensive team."
Ortmann is in his second season at New Ulm. The Eagles are 1-16 under his guidance. NUHS, which has lost its last 12 games, defeated St. James Area 32-12 on Sept,. 29, 2012, for its last victory.
Bahlmann expects precision from the Tigers' coaching staff and players against the Eagles.
"This game is a little bit different," Bahlmann said. "They know our schemes and some of our terminology. We just need to make sure we're precise on what we want to do."
MHS enters the playoffs after defeating Windom Area 28-7 last Wednesday.
The winner of this quarterfinal game plays at No. 2-seeded Waseca (8-0) at 3 p.m. Saturday.
Bahlmann would like to see Marshall run the ball effectively.
"We have to control the front and be able to run the football. We need to make positive plays on first down and when we get a chance to make the big play, we need to take it to the house," Bahlmann said.
Of late, the Tigers have been able to mix up their rushing attack - inside or outside.
"The last couple weeks, we were able to run Jack Bock, our fullback, inside," Bahlmann said. "We want to be able to adjust to what New Ulm is giving us. I think our backs, the last few games, have shown that we have a lot of weapons and we can be diversified in our run game."
MHS considers itself a speedy team and would like to use that to its advantage on defense.
"We want to put some pressure on them and stop their run game," Bahlmann said. "They have a big tailback and they like to run power off-tackle. We want to make him run lateral and use our team speed."
Using their speed, the Tigers would like to give themselves short fields to work with on offense and long fields for the Eagles to work with when Marshall plays defense.
"We think our team speed is an advantage for us and we need to get off to a good start on the kicking game as well as on offensive and on defensive. We'll put some pressure on them and hopefully get off to a fast start," Bahlmann said.
A victory for the Tigers isn't the only reward for defeating New Ulm. It also means Marshall is still alive to play another game.
"We just want to come out and play hard. We take every game that we get to play extra from here as a reward system. If we play well, we will get an extra game," Bahlmann said.
Ortmann said that his team is looking forward to its meeting with Marshall.
"In the playoffs, everyone starts 0-0 and your season starts over," Ortmann said. "This is a new opportunty for us."
With New Ulm's winless season, Ortmann said it is hoping to surprise Marshall today.
"We are a team that no one is expecting a whole lot from," Ortmann said. "But at the same time, our team knows what we are capable of. We have some ability in the backfield with [quarterback] Nate Glaubitz running the football and we can pound the football as well."
They have the most to lose as the higher seed. They came into the year with high expectations as we are trying to build our program."
Ortmann said turnovers have been an issue for his team. Last Wednesday, the Eagles turned the ball over four times while failing to reach the end zone.