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Marshfield defensive lineman Ethan Dagit tackles Appleton West’s Ira Johnson for a loss during the Tigers’ season opener at Appleton West on Friday. West won, 20-19. (Photo by Paul Lecker/For Zaleski Sports))

By Paul Lecker For Zaleski Sports

APPLETON – Appleton West converted four third downs on its final drive, which included the game-winning touchdown with 2:32 remaining, and the Terrors eked out a 20-19 win over Marshfield in the Valley Football Association opener for both teams on Friday night at Ade Dillon Field at Appleton West High School.

Marshfield scored on its opening drive and led nearly the rest of the way, but couldn’t hold off West, and senior quarterback Carson Hacker, on the final drive.

Hacker completed passes of 22 and 14 yards, and had a 6-yard run to convert third down plays. The fourth third down conversion was a jump ball to the left corner of the end zone that was hauled in Spencer Steffen for a 10-yard score with just more than 2 ½ minutes to go and gave the Terrors their only lead at 20-19.

Marshfield took over on its own 25 nad reached the West 25 in just four plays. A pass interference penalty, a 25-yard run by quarterback Joey Goettl and a 13-yard run by Will Nikolai put the Tigers near the red zone, but they couldn’t gain another yard and turned the ball over on downs with 1:13 left. West kneeled twice to run out the clock.

“We had our chances,” Marshfield coach Denny Goettl said. “We dropped some balls and threw some picks. Our kids battled and battled, that’s all we asked them to.”

Marshfield looked crisp on its first drive, going 77 yards in eight plays. A 36-yard pass play from Goettl to Simon Slade on third-and-6 allowed the drive to continue and two plays later Brad Dickinson ran in from the 16 for a touchdown. The two-point pass failed and the Tigers led 6-0.

The Tigers’ next drive ended on downs on the 16 and their third possession was stopped with an interception on the West 32.

After forcing West to punt for the fourth-straight time, Marshfield found pay dirt again, going 56 yards in seven plays. Goettl ran 11 yards and lateraled to Sam Hinson, who took it another 31 down to the West 14. After converting a fourth-and-7, Dickinson scored from the 2. Again, the two-point pass failed and the Tigers led 12-0.

Marshfield stymied West on the 13 with 2:02 to go before halftime, but just two plays later, Goettl was intercepted again. This time the Terrors took advantage. Hacker hit Cayden Bell for a 8-yard pass on fourth-and-8 and three play later Kaden Krueger hauled in a 13-yard touchdown pass with just 27 seconds to go in the half, and making it 12-7 heading into intermission.

“Before halftime I should have ran the football and run the clock off, and we threw a pick and gave them a chance to get points,” Denny Goettl said. “That’s on me. I take this loss. Kids are going to be learning from Week 1 to Week 2. If we didn’t taste a little bit of this, maybe we wouldn’t fight as much this next week.”

Marshfield scored on its opening drive of the second half. After taking over on its own 5, the Tigers went 95 yards in 11 plays. Goettl went 5-for-5 on the drive, four of the throws going to Wyatt LeMoine for 37 yards, and Hinson ran the final 30 yards for a touchdown to give the Tigers a 19-7 lead.

West quickly retaliated as Hacker connected with Krueger for a 49-yard touchdown pass with 2:14 to go in the third quarter, cutting Marshfield’s lead to 19-14.

The Tigers again had a drive end deep in West territory, falling short on fourth down at the 20. The Terrors took over with 6:45 to go and marched on the 12-play winning scoring drive as Marshfield couldn’t get off the field on third down.

“We did things OK, we just came out on the short end,” Denny Goettl said. “This was a good football game. We just got to keep doing what we’re doing. The more you practice, the better you get. Some things didn’t go our away tonight.”

Hinson finished with 91 yards and Goettl with 84 rushing as the Tigers finished with 248 yards on the ground, and outgained Appleton West 363-296 overall.

Marshfield will open the new Heiting Community Stadium next Friday, Aug. 30, against Oshkosh North. The game will be broadcast on WDLB-AM 1450 and, and will be live-streamed at

Terrors 20, Tigers 19 Marshfield 6 6 7 0 – 19 Appleton West 0 7 7 6 – 20 First Quarter M – Brad Dickinson 16 run (pass failed), 8:56. Second Quarter M – Dickinson 2 run (pass failed), 5:18. AW – Kaden Krueger 13 pass from Carson Hacker (Tyler Tetzke kick), 0:27. Third Quarter M – Sam Hinson 30 run (Kyle Tremelling kick), 4:17. AW – Krueger 49 pass from Hacker (Tetzke kick), 2:14. Fourth Quarter AW – Spencer Steffen 10 pass from Hacker (pass failed), 2:32. Team Statistics First downs: Marshfield 22; Appleton West 10. Rushing (att-yards): M 43-248; AW 30-78. Passing (comp-att-yards-int): M 11-24-115-2; AW 14-24-218-0. Total yards: M 363; AW 296. Fumbles (total-lost): M 1-1; AW 3-0. Penalties (total-yards): M 1-5; AW 9-70. Punting (no.-avg.): M, 1-34.0; AW 6-32.0. Individual Statistics Rushing: M, Sam Hinson 12-91, Joey Goettl 9-84, Brad Dickinson 10-42, Will Nikolai 3-20, Noah Schaefer 7-9, Logan Durham 2-2. AW, Carson Hacker 21-41, Ira Johnson 6-25, Nick Rodriguez 3-12. Passing: M, Goettl 11-24-115-2. AW, Hacker 14-24-281-0. Receiving: M, Simon Slade 5-75, Wyatt LeMoine 4-37, Dickinson 1-3, Schaefer 1-0. AW, Kaden Krueger 4-103, Spencer Steffen 4-36, Tyler Tezke 3-38, Cayden Bell 2-24, Rodriguez 1-14. Punting: M, Kyle Tremelling 1-34.0. AW, Tetzke 6-32.0. Fumble recoveries (defense): AW, Zach Fisher. Interceptions (defense): AW, Jakob Dorn, Brennan Sunke. Records: Marshfield 0-1 overall and Valley Football Association West Division; Appleton West 1-0 overall and Valley Football Association North Division.

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