By Paul Lecker For Zaleski Sports
MARSHFIELD – After being punched in the face on the first possession of the game, the Marshfield defense took control, stuffing Sparta’s vaunted running game and leading the Tigers to victory.
Marshfield held Sparta to 184 total yards, and quarterback Joey Goettl threw for two touchdowns and ran for another, as the Tigers won their high school football regular-season finale 24-10 on Friday night at Heiting Community Stadium.
Sparta went 73 yards in just five plays to score a touchdown on the opening possession, but that was about it for the Spartans.
Marshfield’s defense, led by junior end Ethan Dagit, senior tackle Tyler Wein, junior linebacker Seth Peterson, and senior linebackers Ben Gust and Emmett Meissner, held Sparta’s 1,000-yard rusher, quarterback Cole Wisniewski, to just 37 yards on 16 carries, which included three sacks.
“The defense played great again,” Marshfield head coach Denny Goettl said. “They stopped that dude (Wisniewski) and he’s a dude. That’s a D-I football player. Defense wins championships.”
Marshfield (6-3) got on the scoreboard on its second possession, going 77 yards in 12 plays. A pass interference penalty allowed the drive to continue and it ended with a 33-yard field goal from Kyle Tremelling 1:50 into the second quarter.
The Tigers executed a fake punt the next time they had the ball as upback Dustin Altmann ran 27 yards on fourth-and-7. Three plays later, Goettl connected with Simon Slade for a 19-yard touchdown. A two-point conversion made it 11-7 and Marshfield led the rest of the way.
After a quick three-and-out by Sparta (7-2), that included sacks by Dagit and Meissner, Marshfield used a short punt to go just 29 yards in six plays. Again, it was Goettl to Slade, this time for a 6-yard score, making it 17-7 with 20 seconds to go before halftime.
“We did things that we’re supposed to do against a really good team,” Denny Goettl said. “I was happy with our run game tonight. We have a couple of weapons out there and we used them.”
Sparta managed a 34-yard field goal from Chris Jacobs in the third quarter before Marshfield put the game away with another long drive that bridged the end of the third and start of the fourth quarters.
The Tigers went 75 yards in 13 plays, chewing up 6:22 off the clock. All but two plays were on the ground and the drive ended with a 4-yard touchdown run by Goettl to extend Marshfield’s lead to 24-10 with 8:16 to go.
The defense did the rest, stopping Sparta on its two remaining possessions near midfield each time.
Goettl had 86 of Marshfield’s 237 yards rushing. Will Nikolai added 69 and Sam Hinson had 50 on the ground as well for the Tigers.
“The crescendo is getting there, we’re building and hope it continues in the playoffs,” Denny Goettl said. “We don’t know who we are going to get. There’s a lot of good teams out there. We just have to keep going.”
Marshfield will play in a WIAA Division 2 Level 1 game next Friday, Oct. 25. The WIAA will release its postseason football brackets on Saturday.
Tigers 24, Spartans 10 Sparta 7 0 3 0 – 10 Marshfield 0 17 0 7 – 24 First Quarter S – Nick Kent 32 run (Chris Jacobs kick), 9:39. Second Quarter M – Kyle Tremelling 33 field goal, 10:10. M – Simon Slade 19 pass from Joey Goettl (Wyatt LeMoine pass from Goettl), 4:33. M – Slade 6 pass from Goettl (pass failed), 0:20. Third Quarter S – Jacobs 34 field goal, 2:38. Fourth Quarter M – Goettl 4 run (Tremelling kick), 8:16. Team Statistics First downs: Sparta 11; Marshfield 11. Rushing (att-yards): S 27-122; M 43-237. Passing (comp-att-yards-int): S 7-15-62-1; M 5-12-46-1. Total yards: S 184; M 283. Penalties (no.-yards): S 3-30; M 2-20. Fumbles (total-lost): S none; M none. Punting (no.-avg.): S 4-23.8; M 2-25.5. Individual Statistics Rushing: S, Cole Wisniewski 16-37, Corbin Hauser 4-35, Nick Kent 2-33, Marcus Cox 5-17. M, Joey Goettl 17-86, Will Nikolai 13-69, Sam Hinson 8-50, Dustin Altman 1-27, Noah Schaefer 2-3, Brad Dickinson 2-2. Passing: S, Wisniewski 7-15-62-1. M, Goettl 5-12-46-1. Receiving: S, Corbin Hauser 4-49, Matt Biever 1-9, Abe Edie 1-5, Cox 1-0. M, Simon Slade 4-36, Hinson 1-10. Interceptions (defense): S, Haydn Guns. M, Altman. Punting: S, Tye Klass 4-23.8. M, Seth Peterson 2-25.5. Records: Sparta 7-2; Marshfield 6-3.
Paul Lecker is publisher of MarshfieldAreaSports.com, a contributor to Zaleski Sports.