Tigers Tough Football Season Continues
By Paul Lecker
MARSHFIELD – The Marshfield and Stevens Point football teams were playing for pride Friday as both had already been eliminated from WIAA postseason contention.
Stevens Point used a punishing running game and two big pass plays to edge Marshfield 21-14 in the Valley Football Association South Division matchup in Marshfield’s homecoming game at Beell Stadium.
Stevens Point quarterback Victor Kizewski hit Mack Journell with a 45-yard pass on a third down play to set up Ethan Clark’s 7-yard touchdown run with 4:25 left in the game and provide the winning points.
Kizewski ran for 126 yards and Clark added 104 for the Panthers (4-4, 2-4 VFA South).
“All week you try to keep them up, keep yourself up and keep moving everyone going forward,” Marshfield coach Denny Goettl said. “You are still trying to learn. I’m really proud of the defense tonight. We’re playing a power running team, and we’ve been run over the past two weeks and our starting middle linebacker was hurt early. The boys rallied together and played their butts off.
“You talk about what we’ve learned and what we can build on – its’ those types of things. Hopefully the guys that are younger see this stuff.”
Marshfield (2-6, 1-5 VFA South) struck first on its second drive of the first quarter. Derek Coffren connected three times with Jon Hardinger for 16 yards to help the Tigers move down the field and on the seventh play of the drive, he hit Zach McManus for a 19-yard touchdown pass on a ball that was tipped by a Stevens Point defender. The extra point was blocked and the Tigers led 6-0 with 6:01 to go in the opening period.
Stevens Point responded with a 12-play, 74-yard drive. A pass interference penalty on third-and-9 kept the drive alive at midfield and Clark finished off the drive with a 1-yard TD run on the first play of the second quarter and the Panthers took a 7-6 lead.
After a quick three-and-out by Marshfield, Stevens Point drove past midfield before the drive stalled on the 39. However, the punt hit a Marshfield player in the leg and the Panthers’ Noel Winch recovered at the 5. Three plays later, Keith Hoffman tossed a 2-yard TD pass to Alec Mancheski and the Panthers led 14-6, which held until halftime.
Marshfield quickly got back into the game with a big special teams play early in the third quarter.
Cameron Swanson returned a punt 40 yards to the SPASH 25. Coffren then threw a 16-yard pass to McManus and followed that with a 9-yard touchdown throw to Kegan Fassler. A two-point conversion pass from Coffren to McManus tied the game at 14-14 just 2:03 into the second half.
Stevens Point went right back to its grinding running game and drove 73 yards to the Marshfield 1, but the Tigers held on a four-straight plays inside the 5 to stave off the Panthers for the time being.
Marshfield struggled the rest of the way offensively. Coffren just missed on a pass to a wide-open McManus that could have resulted in a 96-yard touchdown. Instead Marshfield had to punt and the Tigers would only gain one first down on their final four possessions.
“We moved the football,” Goettl said. “We had some plays where the ball is just off the fingertips. It’s (the new no-huddle, spread offense) working. It’s so finicky though. You have to make everything happen. You can’t make mistakes because the next play is happening. We’re learning a whole lot.”
Point took the lead with 4:25 to go in the game and after Marshfield failed on fourth down, the Panthers ran out the final 2:54 of the game, converting on a fourth-and-2 with just over a minute left.
Marshfield wraps up its season with a game next Friday at Beell Stadium against Oshkosh North. The game starts at 7 p.m. and will be broadcast on WDLB-AM 1450 and wdlbwosq.com.
Panthers 21, Tigers 14
Stevens Point 0 14 0 7 – 21
Marshfield 6 0 8 0 – 14
M – Zach McManus 19 pass from Derek Coffren (kick blocked), 6:01.
SP – Ethan Clark 1 run (Bryson Schultz kick), 11:55.
SP – Alec Mancheski 2 pass from Keith Hoffman (Schultz kick), 4:36.
M – Kegan Fassler 9 pass from Coffren (McManus pass from Coffren), 9:57.
SP – Clark 7 run (Schultz kick), 4:25.
First downs: Stevens Point 16; Marshfield 9.
Rushing (att-yards): Stevens Point 55-231; Marshfield 21-82.
Passing (comp-att-yard-int): Stevens Point 6-10-94-0; Marshfield 16-26-151-0.
Penalties (no.-yards): Stevens Point 8-61; Marshfield 5-31.
Fumbles (total-lost): Stevens Point 1-1; Marshfield 1-1.
Punting (no.-avg.): Stevens Point 4-30.3; Marshfield 4-30.3.
Rushing: SP, Victor Kizewski 25-126, Ethan Clark 27104, Gus Turner-Zick 1-5, Sam Hauser 2-minus 4. M, Nick Hoheisel 11-64, Thomas Gisvold 2-4, Derek Coffren 6-6, Isaac Cline 1-5, Tanner Boson 1-3.
Passing: SP, Kizweski 2-3-45-0, Hauser 3-6-47-0, Keith Hoffman 1-1-2-0. M, Coffren 16-26, 151-0.
Receiving: SP, Alec Mancheski 4-36, Mack Journell 1-45, Kizewski 1-13. M, Boson 5-26, Zach McManus 4-85, Jon Hardinger 3-16, Kegan Fassler 2-20, Hoheisel 1-7, Gisvold 1-1.
Fumble recoveries (defense): SP, Noel Winch. M, Ryan Wilsmann.
Punting (no.-avg.): SP, Hauser 4-30.3. M, McManus 4-30.3.
Records: Stevens Point 4-4, 2-4 Valley Football Association South; Marshfield 2-6, 1-5 VFA South.
(Hub City Times Sports Reporter Paul Lecker is also the publisher of MarshfieldAreaSports.com).