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Marshfield’s Simon Slade hauls in a long pass just before halftime to set up a touchdown and help lift the Tigers to a 37-7 win over Wisconsin Rapids during their Homecoming game on Friday at Heiting Community Stadium. (Photo by Paul Lecker/For Zaleski Sports))

By Paul Lecker For Zaleski Sports

MARSHFIELD – Following a sluggish first quarter that saw four possessions end with an interception and three punts, a big turnover was able to ignite the Marshfield football team in its Homecoming game against Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln.

Wisconsin Rapids misplayed a punt that was recovered by Marshfield’s Ben Gust at the Raiders’ 34-yard line. Eight plays later, Marshfield scored and the Tigers went on to a 21-point second quarter and ended up with a 37-7 win over Wisconsin Rapids in a Valley Football Association West Division game Friday night at Kenneth and Ardyce Heiting Community Stadium.

Following the turnover on the punt, Marshfield scored on six of its final eight possessions and limited Wisconsin Rapids to just 198 total yards, 51 coming on one pass play that set up the Raiders’ lone score.

“We’re not big, we’re going to try to wear you out running sideways and things,” Marshfield coach Denny Goettl said. “This is big boy football. We have to stick you, punch you, figure out what’s going on and watch the plan that’s going on work. (Assistant coaches) Randy (Hartwig), and Scott (Higgins) and Ryan (Brandt) up in the booth, these are some good coaches and it’s really great to have them. And then, the defense does what it has to.”

Marshfield quarterback Joey Goettl threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to Wyatt LeMoine to break the scoreless tie at the 7:09 mark of the second quarter. After a three-and-out by Rapids, Goettl raced 69 yards for a touchdown to put the Tigers up 14-0 and they were in control the rest of the way.

Rapids cut Marshfield’s lead in half on its next possession. Two plays after the 51-yard pass play from Austin Pelot to Mac Lucas, Pelot connected with Dylan Lisitza for a 20-yard touchdown with just 47 seconds to go in the half.

Marshfield quickly retaliated. A 58-yard kick return by Simon Slade, and a 31-yard pass from Goettl to Slade, set up a 2-yard touchdown run by Sam Hinson with 16 seconds left in the half, pushing the Tigers’ lead back to 14 at 21-7.

“I’m really proud of the way we’re moving forward,” Denny Goettl said. “We’re not regressing, we’re progressing. We’ve still got to win some football games – that’s our goal, to get in the playoffs and win a game.”

Marshfield’s defense did the rest, giving up just 57 yards and three first downs in the second half, and forcing two more fumbles that were recovered by Seth Peterson and Brayden Richardson.

Goettl scored on a 6-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, Kyle Tremelling kicked a 21-yard field goal 4 minutes into the fourth, and with a number of JV players in at the end of the game, Ryan Dolezal ran in from 18 yards with just more than 1 minute left in the game to cap the scoring.

Goettl finished with 129 yards rushing on 13 carries, and threw for 98 more on 8-for-17 passing.

Marshfield now stands tied with D.C. Everest for first place in the VFA West at 3-3 with two conference games remaining. After playing at Wausau West next Friday, Oct. 4, the Tigers will host D.C. Everest in their final conference game on Oct. 11. A pair of wins puts the Tigers into the WIAA playoffs for the third-straight season, no questions asked. One win, and Marshfield would have to play the waiting game to see if it would be selected with a .500 conference record.

“They feed off each other,” Denny Goettl said of how his team is growing. “We’re playing some good football. We’ve got to keep adjusting when they (the opponent) adjust. It helps when you get some turnovers, a kid has a long run on a quarterback draw, receivers make impossible catches. They’re doing good things, but we’re not anywhere near where we need to be, so we’ll come back and practice.”

Tigers 37, Raiders 7 Wisconsin Rapids 0 7 0 0 – 7 Marshfield 0 21 6 10 – 37 Second Quarter M – Wyatt LeMoine 4 pass from Joey Goettl (Kyle Tremelling kick), 7:09. M – Goettl 69 run (Tremelling kick), 3:22. WR – Dylan Lisitza 20 pass from Austin Pelot (Mac Lucas kick), 0:47. M – Sam Hinson 2 run (Tremelling kick), 0:16. Third Quarter M – Goettl 6 run (kick missed), 2:39. Fourth Quarter M – Tremelling 21 field goal, 8:07. M – Ryan Dolezal 18 run (Tremelling kick), 1:08. Team Statistics First downs: Wisconsin Rapids 8; Marshfield 11. Rushing (att-yards): WR 27-58; M 33-219. Passing (comp-att-yards-int): WR 11-21-140-0; M 9-19-129-1. Total yards: WR 198; M 348. Penalties (no.-yards): WR 8-70; M 10-99. Fumbles (total-lost): WR 4-3; M 1-1. Punting (no.-avg.): WR 6-37.5; M 4-40.0. Individual Statistics Rushing: WR, Vercion Gammel 15-70, Nathan Schooley 1-5, Erik Haupt 4-1, Preston Spray 2-minus 7, Austin Pelot 5-minus 11. M, Joey Goettl 13-129, Will Nikolai 3-32, Logan Durham 10-25, Ryan Dolezal 1-18, Noah Schaefer 3-7, Will Fetting 1-5, Matthew Trulen 1-2, Alec Adams 1-1. Passing: WR, Pelot 11-20-140-0, Easton Brise 0-1-0-0. M, Goettl 8-17-98-1, Fetting 1-2-31-0. Receiving: WR, Dylan Lisitza 5-72, Mac Lucas 2-61, Schooley 2-6, Nathan Yanke 1-6, Gammel 1-minus 5. M, Wyatt LeMoine 4-52, Durham 2-13, Simon Slade 1-31, Carson Kvernen 1-31, Schaefer 1-2. Fumble recoveries (defense): WR, Peter Rucker. M, Seth Peterson, Ben Gust, Brayden Richardson. Interceptions (defense): WR, Gabe Zwicke. Punting: WR, Lisitza 6-37.5. M, Peterson 4-40.0. Records: Wisconsin Rapids 2-4 overall and Valley Football Association West Division; Marshfield 3-3 overall and VFA West.

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