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Marshfield’s Jeff Marsh crosses the goal line for the Tigers’ first touchdown of the season in the first quarter of a Valley Football Association game against Wisconsin Rapids on Friday night at Heiting Community Stadium in Marshfield. Rapids won, 14-13. (Photo by Paul Lecker/For Zaleski Sports)

By Paul Lecker For Zaleski Sports

MARSHFIELD – The Marshfield football team has shown improvement from week to week, but it hasn’t been enough to earn a victory.

Special teams mistakes and some untimely miscues on offense left the Tigers a point short as they lost a Valley Football Association matchup to Wisconsin Rapids 14-13 on Friday night at Heiting Community Stadium.

Marshfield (0-3, 0-2 VFA) had a pair of punts blocked on back-to-back possessions in the second quarter, both leading to Wisconsin Rapids touchdowns, missed an extra point in the third quarter that would have tied the score, and missed a short field goal near the end of the game that would have given the Tigers the lead with under 3 minutes to go.

While the Tigers’ defense was stout for the second-straight week, allowing just 176 yards, the miscues were too much to overcome.

“The punting thing, we can work on that and get better,” Marshfield coach Denny Goettl said. “That’s practice. We didn’t practice last night (Thursday), not that it’s a big deal, but the night before the game you don’t practice because we had some storms and weather, that’s just the way it goes.

“We have to get better. We had some bright spots. Some young kids playing and you can see the future.”

Sophomore Trevor Foemmel, who shared snaps with senior Will Fetting at quarterback, ran 23 yards on his first play and fellow sophomore Jeff Marsh scored a touchdown two players later from the 10 giving the Tigers a quick 7-0 lead 3:54 into the game.

Wisconsin Rapids (2-3 overall and VFA) made the two biggest plays of the game in the second quarter, both coming from junior Peter Rucker.

Rucker blocked a Marshfield punt that was recovered at the Tigers’ 8, and two plays later, Leo Brostowitz scored from the 2 to tie the game at 7-7.

After another three-and-out from Marshfield that was marred by a sack and fumble, and a false start penalty, Rucker did it again, blocking a punt that Rapids recovered at the 22.

Caden Sengbusch competed a fourth-down pass to Dylan Lisitza to keep the drive alive, then hit Lisitza again for a 4-yard touchdown with just 9 seconds to go before halftime and put the Raiders up 14-7.

Marshfield took possession after halftime and put together its best offensive drive of the season.

The Tigers went 78 yards in 12 plays. Despite two fumbled snaps, Marshfield managed three first downs, including a fourth-down conversion, and Marsh scored again from the 10.

However, the Tigers missed the extra point and trailed 14-13 with 6:19 to go in the third quarter.

Jaden Wilhelm recovered a Rapids fumble at the 18-yard line to thwart a Raiders’ drive early in the fourth quarter and Marshfield turned around and drove nearly the length of the field.

A 12-play drive came to an end at the 3 and Marshfield lined up for a field goal that would give them the lead with 2:53 to go. A false start penalty pushed the Tigers back 5 yards, and the 24-yard attempt was low and never had a chance.