STATE FOOTBALL: Marshall prepares for opening round of state

MARSHALL – For the third straight year the Marshall Tigers will be playing in the AAAA state tournament. They’ll face South St. Paul in the opening round of the state tournament tonight in Shakopee.

“It’s our third year in the row,” Marshall coach, Terry Bahlmann said. “The kids know the routine. We are excited about being section champions again and beating our rival Waseca. We got right back to work to prepare for a tough South St. Paul team.”

The Tigers appeared to be on the ropes when they fell behind Waseca, 13-0 in the section championship game. An experienced Tigers team didn’t flinch and responded by scoring 41 unanswered points to defeat Waseca, 41-13 to stamp their ticket to the state tournament.

“It was a good challenge for us,” Bahlmann said. “We kept our composure and made some adjustments. Our offensive line did a great job of getting on people. Jefferson and Trey got it going.”

Bahlmann said Marshall’s comeback started up front on the offensive line. It’s a group that has gotten better each game.

“They are consistent,” he said. “We are averaging almost 55 points per game. Those guys have done the job. We have 11 seniors on offense and they’ve gelled all year.”

The Tigers have a large senior class leading the way. It’s a senior class that has played in three state tournaments and never lost a game on their home turf.

“They’ve done a great job of keeping things in perspective and continuing to work hard,” Bahlmann said. “They’ve gotten better each year. Each year we’ve improved a little bit. They’ve gone through their high school career undefeated at home. That’s quite a statement right there. They’ve been great leaders for our program.”

South St. Paul enters the state tournament with a 9-2 record. Bahlmann said their phsyicality is the number one thing that sticks out when watching them on tape.

“They are a physical football team,” he said. “They are going to pound it at you. If they can keep gaining three yards they think it’s a positive play. They want to control the clock and set the tempo.”

Bahlmann said that South St. Paul is a team that wants to win the time possession battle. The number one key for the Tigers is slowing down their rushing attack.

“We have to stop the run,” Bahlmann said. “That’s obvious when you watch them on tape. They have a good quarterback that can run. We need to be sound fundamentally and sound on our assignments. We have to keep them behind the sticks and get them in our kind of game.”