Marshall prepared for final game of shortened season against Jordan
MARSHALL — Like many other prep teams around the state, the Marshall football team found out that their season will come to an abrupt end this week after the latest executive order from Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz that sees a four-week pause on all high school and youth activities and includes both indoor and outdoor sports.
Marshall coach Terry Bahlmann said while they were hoping for an opportunity to compete for a section championship, they’re excited to have the chance to play one final game this season.
“There were about five scenarios that we had talked about that could have happened and of course one was to not even get in another game, so we’re excited that we get another chance to play again and that we get to play at home,” Bahlmann said. “We were hoping for a section championship game, but the final four teams in our section said it had to be unanimous and it wasn’t unanimous. We’re happy to be hosting Jordan, but we wish we would have had a championship game, but it’s not meant to be this year.”
Second-seeded Marshall will face third-seeded Jordan today at Mattke Field on the campus of Southwest Minnesota State University, with kickoff slated for 7 p.m. Marshall fell to Big Lake 16-13 in their regular-season finale last week.
Against the Hornets, Tyler Maeyaert completed 15 of his 31 pass attempts for 263 yards and two touchdowns while DeMario Gaines ran for 33 yards on the ground. Bryce Lance hauled in 11 catches for 233 yards and two scores while Cayden Werner added a 26-yard reception. Grant Louwagie recorded 16 total tackles for Marshall.
Bahlmann said despite having multiple players out last week, he felt they had chances to earn a win down the stretch against Big Lake but they just couldn’t capitalize.
“We’ve got a lot of people with experience this year. Last week, we had 11 positions out and it came down to a couple of plays at the end that we need to take care of; we make those plays, we win the ballgame,” Bahlmann said. “We had chances, we just have to execute and we had a lot of linemen out and didn’t run the ball very well so we need to get back and run the football better.”
Jordan enters the game with a perfect 4-0 record and is fresh off a 55-0 victory against Belle Plaine on Oct. 30. The Hubmen have averaged nearly 45 points per game this season and have only allowed 15 points combined in four games. Jordan will be led by Noah Millhouse, Fletcher Kahn, Reihle Murray and Wil Muelken.
“Jordan’s at 4-0 and they’ve got the second-highest scoring margin in the state, so they haven’t had many close games,” Bahlmann said. “With only four games, it’s really hard to get a read on what kind of football team they are, but they’ve dominated everybody they’ve played, so we’re expecting to see a good team. It looks like they’ve got good size and return a quarterback who played against us last year.”
Offensively, Marshall will have some key players back, including quarterback Brevin Runia, wide receiver Jack Bly and guard Andon Bruss. Bahlmann said getting those guys back has made a significant impact.
“Just getting some guys back. We’ve got Brevin and Jack coming back along with Bruss back at guard, so that’s going to help us,” Bahlmann said. “You forget about having a senior quarterback until you don’t have one and just bringing the senior back to practice has made a huge difference for us.”
Defensively, Bahlmann added they just need to not allow the huge plays to happen and instead force teams to drive the length of the field and give their team a chance to get some turnovers.
“Defensively, we’ve played pretty well this year and then have given up some huge plays,” Bahlmann said. “We’ve got to make teams drive the field on us and not give up the big plays and we get a chance to get a turnover and give us the short field on offense.”
With all of the changes they’ve experienced this year due to COVID-19, Bahlmann said they’re just looking forward to getting onto the field one more time and playing as a group.
“I think we’re just looking forward to the opportunity to play one more time,” Bahlmann said. “It’s been a crazy year and things seem to change almost day-to-day all the time from when we started last June, so we’re just looking forward to playing one more game as a team.”