Still unbeaten -- just barely

Still unbeaten -- just barely

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Still unbeaten -- just barely

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MARSHFIELD

With 12 minutes to go before its unbeaten season, and Homecoming game, was ruined, Marshfield junior Daulton Varsho stepped in to make sure both were safe.

Varsho returned a punt for a touchdown then grabbed an interception late in the final quarter to give the Tigers a dramatic 14-10 come-from-behind win over visiting Oshkosh West, which entered the final quarter leading 10-0.

Oshkosh West kept the potent Tiger offense in check all night holding Marshfield to just 168 yards total offense and 29 yards rushing on 36 carries. Most of the running actually was done Marshfield quarterback Bo Howard who was trying to escape the relentless pass rush of the Wildcats.

“They really got after us,” said Marshfield coach Denny Goettl. “We couldn’t handle a couple of their guys. We couldn’t get into a rhythm. We were lucky our defense played well.”

It was an unexpected defensive battle from the outset. The only points in the first quarter came at the very end, off the foot of West’s Ethan Nelson who drilled a 32-yard field goal. Those three points held up through intermission.

The score remained that way until the third play of the second half when Wildcat quarterback Isaac Xiong found Trevor Wenig. Wenig zig-zagged his way back and forth to the end zone some 67 yards away and the Tigers were in trouble, down 10-0.

The Tigers offfensive woes continued in the third although they were keeping West off the field with sustained drives that, unfortunately for them, ended up nowhere.

It took the Tigers 43½ minutes to strike pay dirt when Riley Gebelein, who gained a school record 267 yards on the ground last week, scored from the five at the 4:30 mark of the final period.

West would run just four plays before having to punt the ball away and that’s when Varsho’s heroics began.

The 5-foot-8, 165-pound defensive back took the punt, cut back and found a line of blockers that led him into the end zone from 60 yards out and the Tigers’ suddenly had their first lead.

“I didn’t go the right way right away, but it ended up well,” said Varsho. ” I couldn’t do it without my teammates and their blocking. If they don’t block, I don’t score. Our defense hung in there when the offense struggled. We didn’t give up.”

West hung tough getting the ball at their own 27. They got as far as the Tiger 39 and were forced to go deep because of a sack with just over a minute to play. Varsho’s interception ended any Wildcat comeback and Howard took a knee three times and the Tigers escaped to run their record to 5-0.

“Our special teams continue to be pretty good,” continued Goettl. ” We’re getting our athletes out there to move and to run. We couldn’t get it going like we wanted to but winning ugly is still winning. We’re in the conference championship race where we want to be.”

Osh. West 3 0 7 0 10
Marshfield 0 0 0 14 14

First quarter

OW- Ethan Nelson 32 FG

Third quarter

OW -Trevor Wenig 67 pass from Isaac Xiong

Fourth quarter

M- Riley Gebelein 23 run (Brad Krueger kick)

M- Daulton Varsho 60 punt return (Krueger kick)

OW Mar
First downs 9 11
Total yards 215 168
Rushes-yards 27-51 36-29
Passing yards 164 139
Comp-Att-Int 12-32-2 14-20-2
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 1-1

Records: Oshkosh West 2-3 overall, 2-2 VFA South; Marshfield 5-0 overall, 4-0 VFA South.

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