By Paul Lecker
WISCONSIN RAPIDS – The Marshfield football team showed some spunk, coming back from a 16-point deficit to tie the game, but when it need to stop Wisconsin Rapids one more time, the Tigers couldn’t do it.
Rapids quarterback Jayson Wiernik ran seven times for 51 yards and capped off a 74-yard scoring drive with a 3-yard touchdown run, lifting the Raiders to a 26-19 victory in a Valley Football Association South Division game Friday night at South Wood County 2000 Field.
Marshfield is now in must-win mode after falling to 2-4 overall and 1-3 in the VFA South. The Tigers must win its final three conference games – at Hortonville and at home against Stevens Point and Oshkosh North – to qualify for the WIAA playoffs. Marshfield hasn’t missed the postseason since 1995.
“Rapids came out and did what they do,” Marshfield coach Denny Goettl said. “They ran the football, the quarterback kept it and ran with it, and we have to tackle. We stopped them a few times and stopped outselves a few times.”
Wiernik tossed touchdown passes of 54 and 24 yards to Tommy Olson in the first half, putting the Raiders (2-4, 1-3 VFA South) 13-0 with 8:02 remaining the second quarter.
After a failed fake punt attempt, Marshfield capitalized with a 23-yard field goal from Zach McManus, cutting Rapids’ lead to 13-3 at the half.
Wisconsin Rapids turned to its run game to move the ball down the field on the opening possession of the second half. Nine straight running plays brought the ball down to the Tigers 21 when Wiernik hit Derek Krzykowski on a fourth-down play for his third touchdown pass, making it 19-3 after a failed extra point kick.
Marshfield finally was able to punch the ball in the end zone with two consecutive efficient drives to tie the game.
Quarterback Derek Coffren connected with Zach McManus for 13 yards on a fourth-and-2 and three plays later hit Kegan Fassler for a 24-yard touchdown pass to cap an eight-play, 61-yard drive. Coffren threw to Tanner Boson for a two-point conversion that brought Marshfield to within 19-11 with 4:05 to go in the third quarter.
After a quick three-and-out, the Tigers went 54 yards in seven plays. A 22-yard run by Isaac Cline on the final play of the third quarter brought the ball to the Rapids 3. Two plays later, Carlos Cortes scored from the 2 and McManus caught a 2-point pass from Coffren to tie the game at 19-19.
With the game on the line, Rapids returned to its run game and Marshfield couldn’t stop it.
Rapids ran the ball 14 straight times, converting three third downs, and Wiernik finished off the 74-yard drive with a 3-yard TD run. The drive chewed up 6:57 off the clock and Rapids led 26-19 with 4:39 remaining.
Marshfield moved the ball quickly into Rapids territory. Cline, who had a season-high 101 yards rushing, had a 17-yard run and a pass interference penalty pushed the ball to the Rapids 48.
However, a chop block penalty wiped out a first down run by Coffren and stalled the drive as the Tigers gave the ball up on downs with 2:21 to go.
“I don’t want to make excuses,” Goettl said. “We didn’t stop them and we didn’t score. We got a couple of things going. The two-point conversions worked, we scored when we had to and came back. We just have to convert when we have to convert. We didn’t do that.”
Rapids was able to pick up a first down and run out the clock as Wiernik ran six straight times for 19 yards. He finished with 87 yards on the ground and 99 yards through the air.
Marshfield plays at Hortonville (4-2, 3-1 VFA South) next Friday at 7 p.m. The game will be broadcast on WDLB-AM 1450 and wdlbwosq.com.
Raiders 26, Tigers 19
Marshfield 0 3 8 8 – 19
Wisconsin Rapids 6 7 6 7 – 26
WR – Tommy Olson 54 pass from Jayson Wiernik (kick missed), 4:25.
WR – Olson 24 pass from Wiernik (Victor Adler kick), 8:02.
M – Zach McManus 23 field goal, 1:39.
WR – Derek Krzykowski 21 pass from Wiernik (kick missed), 7:15.
M – Kegan Fassler 24 pass from Derek Coffren (Tanner Boson pass from Coffren), 4:07.
M – Carlos Cortes 2 run (McManus pass from Coffren), 11:36.
WR – Wiernik 3 run (Adler kick), 4:39.
First downs: Marshfield 16; Wisconsin Rapids 12.
Rushing (att-yards): Marshfield 38-159; Wisconsin Rapids 47-189.
Passing (comp-att-yards-int): Marshfield 13-24-144-0; Wisconsin Rapids 5-11-122-1.
Penalties (no.-yards): Marshfield 4-31; Wisconsin Rapids 3-25.
Fumbles (total-lost): Marshfield 3-1; Wisconsin Rapids 0-0.
Punting (no.-avg.): Marshfield 2-28.5; Wisconsin Rapids 3-34.3.
Rushing: M, Isaac Cline 17-105, Derek Coffren 15-30, Tanner Boson 1-13, Trevor Heiman 2-6, Carlos Cortes 3-5. WR, Jayson Wiernik 18-87, Logan Boettcher 18-67, Ryan Potter 6-24, Austin Glinski 5-11.
Passing: M, Coffren 13-24-144-0. WR, Wiernik 4-9-99-1, Boettcher 1-2-23-0.
Receiving: M, Kegan Fassler 5-61, Boson 4-36, Jon Hardinger 2-26, Zach McManus 2-21. WR, Tommy Olson 4-101, Derek Krzykowski 1-21.
Fumble recoveries: WR, Dylan Schudy.
Interceptions: M, Cameron Swanson.
Punting: M, McManus 2-28.5. WR, Wiernik 3-34.3.
Records: Marshfield 2-4, 1-3 Valley Football Association South Division; Wisconsin Rapids 2-4, 1-3 VFA South.
(Hub City Times Sports Reporter Paul Lecker is also the publisher of MarshfieldAreaSports.com).