Prep football: Big plays fuel Marshfield over SPASH; Tigers to play next week for conference share (with video)

Prep football: Big plays fuel Marshfield over SPASH; Tigers to play next week for conference share (with video)

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Prep football: Big plays fuel Marshfield over SPASH; Tigers to play next week for conference share (with video)

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STEVENS POINT

A chance for the Stevens Point Area Senior High football team to play spoiler to Marshfield ended in just four plays Friday.

Senior running back Keiron Howlett scored the first of his two touchdowns on the fourth play as the Tigers rolled to a 31-10 Valley Football Association South victory to keep their championship hopes alive.

Marshfield (6-2, 5-1 VFA South) plays undefeated Oshkosh North (8-0, 6-0) at Titan Stadium for a share of the South Division championship next week. It’s the second straight year that the Tigers are playing for a championship on the final night of the regular season. Last year the Tigers beat SPASH to share the division crown.

“It’s going to be fun to play for a championship on our last game,” Marshfield senior defensive back Daulton Varsho said. “It’s going to be intense and fun and for the seniors, the time of our lives.”

Added senior lineman Brad Schroeder: “It’s exciting to be able to play for a conference title, even a share. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”

Schroeder and the rest of the offensive lineman were able to spring Howlett and fellow running back Caleb Alexander for four 30-plus yard plays, three of which resulted in touchdowns.

Howlett scored on runs of 56 and 46 yards to finish with 135 yard on 12 carries, before leaving the game early in the fourth quarter with an ankle injury. Alexander, meanwhile, scored on a 35-yard touchdown run. Alexander also caught a 36-yard pass that set up a 36-yard field goal.

“The big play was the dagger all night for us,” SPASH coach Pete McAdams said. “They have a special back (in Howlett) who just needs to get through the line of scrimmage and he can make some great plays. Take away those big plays and their yardage is minimal.”

The SPASH defense held Marshfield in check on long drives and forced the Tigers into three turnovers, interceptions by Bennett Neale and Jon Barnes, and Noel Winch recovered a fumble.

“I was proud of the way our defense played,” McAdams said. “They created turnovers and played aggressive. We got pressure on their quarterbacks forcing them to make some quick decisions.”

The Panthers had a pair of long scoring plays as well.

Ethan Clark burst through the line and ran untouched for a 38-yard touchdown in the second quarter, while Mark Ponczoch kicked a 32-yard field goal in the fourth quarter.

The Tigers’ big plays made up for SPASH slightly outgaining them in total offensive yards, 331-312.

Marshfield’s defense accounted for six points as well on Matt Rickman’s 40-yard interception return in the third quarter that put the Tigers up 24-7.

Marshfiled coach Denny Goettl acknowledged that the explosive plays were a big key to the win.

“That’s who we are,” Goettl said. “We have explosive backs and receivers who can catch the ball. What concerns me is that when we have to grind it out. Will be be able to do that?

“Each year our goal is to play for the conference championship and we have that opportunity next week,” Goettl said.

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