MARSHFIELD – Despite four turnovers and a heart-stopping final minute, the Marshfield football team was able to claw its way to another victory.
Marshfield withstood a touchdown that was called back due to a penalty and four plays inside the 10-yard line in the final 40 seconds to defeat Stevens Point 13-7 in a Valley Football Association West Division game Friday night at Beell Stadium.
Marshfield, ranked No. 9 in this week’s Wissports.net Division 2 state coaches poll, improves to 5-0 overall and 4-0 in the VFA West and clinches a playoff spot. Point falls to 0-5 overall and 0-4 in the VFA West.
“The kids that play in this program are top of the line kids, and that’s what we’re trying to create,” Marshfield coach Denny Goettl said. “A better student, a better athlete, that’s our motto here at Marshfield. If our staff keeps putting out kids like this, the world’s going to be a better place.”
Quarterback Ryan Krueger ran around the left end for a 19-yard touchdown with 8:04 remaining to give the Tigers a 13-7 lead and left it up to the defense.
While shaky at times, Marshfield’s defense came through.
Point drove to the Marshfield 17 on its ensuing possession only to be stopped by a few inches on fourth down.
Marshfield managed to pick up three first downs as it attempted to run out the clock, before a fumble by Brant Bohman gave the ball back to the Panthers with 57 seconds to go on the Point 38.
Stevens Point quarterback Brett Ehr connected with tight end Owen Ahrens for 40 yards and on the next play running back Jack Kelly ran through the Marshfield defense for an apparent touchdown. However, it was called back due to a holding penalty. On the next play, Ehr hit Travis Johnson for a 20-yard play to get down to the Tigers 1 with 25 seconds left.
As Stevens Point attempted to spike the ball to stop the clock, Ehr was called for an illegal pass as he batted the ball down rather than catching the shotgun snap and throwing it into the ground as is required.
The penalty, with a loss of down, pushed the ball back to the 10. Kelly was then stuffed at the line and fumbled, but offensive lineman Kyle Wilbourn was able to recover and advance the ball to the 4. Kelly reached the 2 on the next play before Ehr fumbled the snap on fourth down, giving it back to the Tigers with 2 seconds to go.
“Brant’s a wild man, he’s going to try to take it to the house every time, but he learned something,” Goettl said. “You know you’re going to get the football and they are going to come after you, so you have to keep your hands on the football. We fought through it.”
The game was one of missed opportunities from both sides as Marshfield went inside the Point 50 on nine straight possessions. The Tigers scored twice, but missed a field goal, lost three fumbles, and threw an interception.
Stevens Point was stopped by Marshfield inside the Tigers 30 on five different occasions on downs.
Point took a 7-0 lead after Luke Bembenek recovered a Krueger fumble at the 16 and Ehr hit Mason King on the next play for an 84-yard touchdown at the 10:08 mark of the second quarter.
Marshfield responded with a 12-play, 92-yard drive that ended with a 6-yard touchdown pass from Krueger to Isaac Meverden. The extra point was missed, and Stevens Point led 7-6 at halftime.
The score held until Marshfield put together a 67-yard drive on its first possession of the fourth quarter. An 8-yard pass from Krueger to Preston Wagner on third-and-4 kept the drive alive before Krueger’s touchdown run gave the Tigers the lead for good.
Marshfield will play at Wisconsin Rapids (2-3, 1-3 VFA West) next Friday, Sept. 21, at Lincoln High School. The game will begin at 7 p.m. and will be livestreamed at zaleskisportsshow.com and broadcast on WDLB-AM 1450 and wdlbwosq.com.
Tigers 13, Panthers 7
Stevens Point 0 7 0 0 – 7
Marshfield 0 6 0 7 – 13
SP – Mason King 84 pass from Brett Ehr (Kenny Schultz kick), 10:08.
M – Isaac Meverden 6 pass from Ryan Krueger (kick missed), 5:36.
M – Krueger 19 run (Mason Coffren kick), 8:04.
First downs: Stevens Point 22; Marshfield 7.
Rushing (att-yards): SP 35-89; M 42-184.
Passing (comp-att-yards-int): SP 8-13-219-0; M 15-24-158-1.
Total yards: SP 308; M 342.
Penalties (no.-yards): SP 8-55; M 7-53.
Fumbles (total-lost): SP 2-0; M 4-3.
Punting (att-avg.): SP 3-27.7; M 1-39.0.
Rushing: SP, Jack Kelly 22-72, Travis Johnson 4-15, Jackson Gutzdorf 1-0, Brett Ehr 8-minus 2. M, Brant Bohman 19-109, Ryan Krueger 16-61, Sam Hinson 4-12, Isaiah Baierl 2-3, Simon Baity 1-minus 1.
Passing: SP, Ehr 8-13-219-0. M, Krueger 15-24-158-1.
Receiving: SP, Mason King 3-114, Gutzdorf 2-21, Owen Ahrens 1-40, Michael Vang 1-24, Johnson 1-20. M, Preston Wagner 5-78, Bohman 5-36, Baierl 3-25, Isaac Meverden 2-19.
Fumble recoveries (defense): SP, Luke Bembenek, Brett Britz, Evan Thomas.
Interceptions (defense): SP, Johnson.
Records: Stevens Point 0-5, 0-4 Valley Football Association West Division; Marshfield 5-0, 4-0 VFA West.
Paul Lecker is publisher of MarshfieldAreaSports.com and a contributor to focusonmarshfield.com