PREP STATE FOOTBALL: Marshall marches over Fridley, 40-7
BURNSVILLE Last year, the Marshall Tigers made an appearance in the state tournament, only to suffer an opening round loss to Stewartville. This year wasn’t the case, as Marshall defeated the Fridley Tigers 40-7 Friday night in the Class AAAA Quarterfinals.
The win marks the 11th on the season for Marshall, a school record.
Head coach Terry Bahlmann said he was proud of his team’s ability to fight throughout the game.
“Tonight we were resilient,” said Bahlmann. “We made a lot of mistakes early but our kids kept playing hard and made some plays. Once we calmed down, we showed how explosive we really were.”
The first quarter didn’t start off strong for Marshall, as MHS fumbled on the opening kickoff, which was recovered by Fridley on the Marshall one-yard line. One play later, Fridley got on the board on a 3-yard run by Leon Deshield to make it 7-0.
But that was all Fridley got on the night, as Marshall shut down the Fridley offense the rest of the night.
“We started out with the worst possible start we could have with the fumble on the 1-yard line. I don’t know if we were nervous or just trying too hard but we put the ball on the ground a lot,” said Bahlmann. “Once we calmed down a little bit, we did a great job on both sides of the ball.”
Marshall’s second drive went better, as they went down the field to score on a 16-yard run by Jefferson Lee V to make it 7-6.
In the second quarter, Marshall struck again, this time on a 8-yard pass from Trey Lance to Nicky Ektanitphong to put Marshall up 14-7 after the successful 2-point conversion.
MHS drove down the field again after a Fridley punt and scored on a 22-yard run by Lee, extending the lead to 21-7.
After a muffed punt by Marshall, the Fridley offense took over from near midfield. But a key interception by Reece Winkleman gave Marshall the ball back deep inside Fridley territory.
A few plays later, MHS scored again on Lee’s third TD of the game, this time on a 1-yard run to make it 27-7 at the half.
Marshall extended its lead in the third quarter with a pair of scores. The first was a 29-yard pass from Lance to Winkelman to make it 34-7 and then Lee found the end zone for the fourth time to make it 40-7.
Lee led the way for Marshall, rushing 21 times for 139 yards and four touchdowns, while Lance threw for 116 yards and a pair of scores as well. Winkelman led the receivers with 71 yards on three catches as well as picking up seven tackles and a key interception.
Lee said the key on offense was his teammates’ ability to support him despite his miscues.
“A lot of it was blocking and the guys picking me up when I got down,” said Lee. “I had a lot of fumbles and left a lot of plays out on the field. For the guys to be able to pick me up after that and keep motivating me to keep pounding was really nice.”
Bahlmann said he was pleased with the performance by his defense.
“I thought the defensive effort was fantastic,” said Bahlmann. “They have a good running back and he’s gone for 500 yards in two section games, and we shut him down for the most part. Our kids did a good job of gang tackling, especially in the second half.”
Marshall (11-0) moves on to the Class AAAA Semifinals, where it will face Benilde-St. Margaret’s (8-3) on Thursday at 4:30 p.m. at U.S Bank Stadium.
Bahlmann said his team is excited and ready to be this far in the tournament.
“We’re excited to go to the Bank. What an opportunity for our football team,” said Bahlmann. “We know that they’ve (BSM) got a lineman that’s going to Harvard and a really good running back, so it sounds a lot like us. We’ll have a plan on Monday but we’ll enjoy the weekend first.”
As for what he’s looking forward to the most, Bahlmann said it’s the fact their season isn’t over.
“It feels great,” said Bahlmann. “We’re still playing and the best thing is we still have practice on Monday.”
Marshall 40, Fridley 7
Fridley7 0 0 0 7
Marshall 6 21 13 0 40
FRIDLEY: Deshield 3 yd run (Kick good)
MHS: Lee 16 yd run (Luther kick failed)
MHS: Ektanitphong 8 yd pass from Lance (Lee run)
MHS: Lee 22 yd run (Luther kick)
MHS: Lee 1 yd run (Luther kick failed)
MHS: Winkelman 29 yd pass from Lance (Luther kick)
MHS: Lee 9 yd run (Luther kick failed)
Passing (A-C-Y-TD-I): MHS (Lance 6-8-116-2-0)
Rushing (A-Y-TD): MHS (Lee 21-139-4; Penske 7-60-0)
Receiving (C-Y-TD): MHS (Winkelman 3-71-1; Ektanitphong 1-8-1)
Defense (Tackles-INT): MHS (Winkelman 7-1; Penske 5.5-0)