By Steve Pilz For Zaleski Sports
MARSHFIELD – The Marshfield Tigers football team and the School District of Marshfield took the wrappings off their shiny new football stadium Friday evening and came within a half a minute of pitching an opening night shutout, downing the visiting Oshkosh North Spartans 20-7 before a raucous crowd at the new Ken and Ardyce Heiting Community Stadium at Marshfield High School.
The much-anticipated event was preceded by a boys soccer game, and the football game started a half hour later than usual, but that didn’t stop the Marshfield faithful as cars were parked as far away as one could see, despite the new parking lots.
The contest seemed almost secondary as both teams felt their way through the first quarter and a scoreless tie.
That ended in a hurry when Marshfield running back Will Nikolai bolted through a gaping hole on a counter play that netted 18 yards and the first six points. Kyle Tremelling, who would be busy in the game, added the extra-point kick and it was 7-0 Tigers.
After North went three-and-out and punted, the Tigers’ Simon Slade, who had a 35-yard punt return in the first quarter, took this one 25 yards and the Tigers were in business again.
Marshfield quarterback Joey Goettl converted a pair of fourth downs with his arm, hitting Wyatt LeMoine on a 4-yarder on fourth down and Slade with a 16-yard play, also on fourth down. The drive stalled at the four and Marshfield settled for a 22-yard field goal from Tremelling for a 10-0 lead.
A five-play drive by the Spartans did little for their offense, or their tiring defense, and the Tigers got the ball again, and settled for another Tremelling three-pointer with seven seconds left in the half to make it 13-0 at intermission.
A lackluster North squad wen three-and-out again and the Tigers wasted little time going 46 yards in three plays with Logan Durham covering the final 10 by bolting into the end zone for a 20-0 lead.
Seeing as how it was probably do or die, North abandoned the run game completely and had varying degrees of success with the pass. North quarterback Peyton Lyon did have his moments, but a botched run play produced a fumble that the Tigers recovered. Linebacker Ben Gust intercepted a Lyon pass in the end zone to end another Spartans; threat to end the third quarter.
Tremelling had a kick tipped at the line of scrimmage from 25 yards out midway through the fourth quarter as the Tigers began to manage the clock on their way to their first victory of the season.
Lyon finally got his team in the end zone on a fourth down play when he hit Brendan Krumrei with a 7-yard fade with 33 seconds left in the game.
Too little too late as the Tigers opened their new home in style.
Marshfield coach Denny Goettl was up-beat, as usual. “We’re starting two sophomores and bringing a third one in,” said Goettl. “They’re just puppies yet. It’s a different world for them. They’ll get it. We don’t have a big punishing runner, so it’s not like we can ram it down your throat. We’re kind of a finesse team right now. Once the kids get it, we’ll be able to do some more things.”
Marshfield’s defense proved stout, allowing just seven rushing yards and forcing four turnovers. The Tigers’ offense did more than enough.
“We’re going to give you a good game,” Goettl said. “We didn’t turn the ball over as much as last week. We’re getting better and that’s a good thing.”
Marshfield (1-1 overall and Valley Football Association West Division) will play at Hortonville (2-0 overall and VFA South) next Friday, Sept. 6.
Tigers 20, Spartans 7 Oshkosh North 0 0 0 7 – 7 Marshfield 0 13 7 0 – 20 Second Quarter M – Will Nikolai 22 run (Kyle Tremelling kick), 10:40. M – Tremelling 22 field goal, 5:44. M – Tremelling 25 field goal, 0:07. Third Quarter M – Logan Durham 10 run (Tremelling kick), 10:12. Fourth Quarter ON – Brendan Krumrei 7 pass from Peyton Lyon (Lukas Kleveland kick), 0:33. Team statistics First downs: ON 9; M 18 Rushing (att.-yards): ON 19-7; M 47-178. Passing (comp-att-yards-int): ON 13-41-240-1; M 16-29-166-0. Total yards: ON 247; M 344. Fumbles (total-lost): ON 3-3; M 3-2. Penalties (total-yards): ON 5-25; M 3-25. Individual statistics Rushing: ON, Landon Spanbauer 11-38, Steven Kempfer 3-minus 1, Sam Schamens 1-minus 7, Lyon 4-minus 24. M, Will Nikolai 9-63, Joey Goettl 13-40, Sam Hinson 8-35, Brayden Richardson 1-26, Brad Dickinson 6-10. Passing: ON, Lyon 13-34-240-1. M, Goettl 16-29-166-0. Receiving: ON, Greg Harden 4-146, Brendan Krumrei 4-51, Cole Spanbauer 3-26, L. Spanbauer 1-2, Schamens 1-1. M, Wyatt LeMoine 7-58, Simon Slade 6-68, Nikolai 2-10, Hinso n 1-18. Records: Oshkosh North 0-2 overall and VFA South; Marshfield 1-1 overall and VFA West.