The first two games of the season showed the potential of this year’s Fond du Lac High School football team. Game three showed just how far the Cardinals still have to go to join the top teams of the Valley Football Association South Division.
Marshfield’s explosiveness in the passing game and running game led to a 35-7 victory against Fond du Lac at Fruth Field on a chilly and wet Friday night.
Marshfield improved to 3-0, while Fondy drops to 1-2 overall and 0-2 in the Valley under first-year head coach Mike Gnewuch, who said he saw some more growth from his team even in the loss.
“Every single week they step up a little bit more and become a little bit better and their leadership is coming,” he said of his defense, which returned just one starter. “Everything’s new to these guys. We’ve just got to keep getting them to become better football players.”
When the players and coaches watch the film from this game it will be Marshfield’s explosive plays that stand out. The Tigers had 10 plays of more than 10 yards in the first half to just one for Fondy.
Marshfield scored 21 points in the second quarter due to those big plays. One touchdown was set up by a 22-yard pass play, another came when running back Riley Gebelein went uncovered out of the backfield and caught a 25-yard TD pass from Bo Howard and the final score was a 14-yard bootleg run by Howard — one play after Fondy fumbled on a kick return.
“All week long we were saying we had to play perfect defense and perfect offense and couldn’t turn the ball over and obviously that didn’t happen,” Gnewuch said. “We had a whole lot of 10 guys doing their job and one guy wouldn’t execute and it ended up in a big play.”
Marshfield coach Dennis Goettl said it was an adjustment in his team’s blocking scheme that led to a five touchdown in six possession stretch between the second and third quarters.
“We had to figure out who we’re going to block; getting the running game going a little bit,” Goettl said of his team’s success. “They had a nice scheme. I still don’t know what kind of scheme he’s running over there, so he had me fooled.
“They had guys half a position over from where we were so we just had to make some changes.”
The Cardinals stopped the running clock and got on the scoreboard with about 3 minutes left in the game.
Back-up running back Mike Feilbach ran four times for 29 yards setting up a 37-yard pass play from reserve quarterback Hunter Schmitz to Alex Schuler, who was uncovered on his seam pattern.
Fondy faces another central Wisconsin team next week, when it goes to Stevens Point, also unbeaten at 3-0.