MARSHALL - The Marshall Tigers can secure a winning football season tonight, when they host the Windom Area Eagles in the regular season finale for both teams at The Schwan Regional Event Center.
Marshall (5-3 overall, 4-1 Southwest Conference), which has won four of its last five games - all against league opponents - will meet conference foe Windom Area (2-5, 1-4 SWC), which has struggled in 2013.
"We are trying to keep building off the momentum we have created the last few weeks," Marshall head coach Terry Bahlmann said. "We have been playing better, but there is always room to get better."
File Photo by Jeff Arenz
Marshall’s Sam Marshall runs with the ball as teammate Cody Kruger blocks for him during practice this season at Marshall High School.
The Tigers, victors of their last two games, including a 28-7 win at Redwood Valley last Friday and a 33-7 decision at Worthington on Oct. 4, have outscored their Southwest Conference opponents 144-78 this season.
In contrast, Windom Area has seen its momentum evaporate the last few weeks.
On Sept. 27, the Eagles defeated Redwood Valley 15-14 for their only league victory this season. Since then, Windom Area has been outscored 85-13 in losses to Luverne (43-6) and Jackson County Central (42-7).
"Windom has a new coach this season (Bobby Elwell) and he has tried to do some new things," Bahlmann said.
The Eagles average 11.1 points on offense and allow 30.4 points on defense. The Tigers average 22.7 points on offense and allow 16.7 points on defense.
Seizing the momentum early in tonight's game could be a key for both teams.
"We want to take control early-on and be in control at halftime," Bahlmann said. "If we let Windom Area hang around with us, then it might give them a chance to stay close in the ballgame."
One area Marshall has been able to control is the ground game. In seven games this season, the Tigers have run for 1,757 yards and allowed 755, outgaining their opponents on average 251.0 yards to 107.8.
Leading rushers for the Tigers include quarterback Brad Bahlmann, who has run for 616 yards and six touchdowns on 97 carries, and running back Sam Marshall, who has compiled 569 yards and six touchdowns on 95 carries. Running back Jack Bock adds 264 yards and three touchdowns on 48 carries.
Brad Bahlmann has thrown for 709 yards and six touchdowns on 48 of 84 passing. His top receivers are Marshall, who leads the Tigers with 25 catches for 337 yards and two touchdowns, and Andrew Hmielewski, who has hauled in 17 passes for 301 yards and two touchdowns.
Defensively, Jason Polzin has 37.5 tackles with two of them being for lost yardage. Other top defenders are Brad Bahlmann (35.0 tackles, 2.0 for loss), Tyus DeBoer (32.0 tackles, 7.5 for loss, 2.0 sacks), Max Roelfsema (21.0 tackles, 3.0 for loss), Hunter Greve (16.5 tackles. 1.0 for loss, 1.0 sacks) and Colin VanKeulen (16.5 tackles, 6.5 for loss, 1.5 sacks).