By Paul Lecker
WAUSAU – In a game of missed opportunities, the Marshfield football team took advantage of its final one.
The Tigers had two turnovers, a dropped touchdown pass, two missed extra points, a missed field goal and numerous other dropped passes, but in the end they made the most of the final time they had the ball.
Marshfield drove 80 yards in 1:05 and Nick Hoheisel ran in from 11 yards out with 42 seconds to go to lift the Tigers to a 19-14 victory over Wausau East in the teams’ season opener Friday night at Thom Field.
Hoheisel ran for 99 of his game-high 212 yards in the fourth quarter and scored all three Marshfield touchdowns in the win.
“We want to make a statement that last year is in the past and this year is now, and we’re trying to improve game by game and take it one step at a time,” Hoheisel said. “I have the easy part. My big guys up front, they move everything for me. I just get to find the open spot, find the green, and go.”
After going through a 2-7 season last year, getting back in the win column to open its new season was huge for Marshfield, head coach Denny Goettl said.
“The boys know what we needed to do this year,” Goettl said. “It’s a lot of getting over things and trying to rejuvenate ourselves. We’re not going back to that season, the guys are here now and this is what we’re doing. The greatest thing to happen tonight was our kids saw, and fought through, adversity. We dropped a ton of passes, we missed tackles, we missed field goals…you could see the emotion on their faces and that’s what is important tonight. It was a great first game.”
Marshfield struck first when Hoheisel returned a punt 17 yards and scored on a 25-yard run on the next play to put the Tigers up 6-0 with 6:36 to go in the first half.
The lead was short-lived, however, as East needed just three plays to strike back. On third-down and 17, quarterback Kyle Daniel hit Thomas Dunbar for a 60-yard touchdown pass and the extra point put East up 7-6.
That lead held until late in the third quarter when Marshfield pulled back ahead.
Quarterback Tyson Slade connected with tight end Zach McManus on passes of 17 and 9 yards, and Hoheisel had three straight runs to cover the final 39 yards of the drive – the final one coming on a 16-yard TD scamper. McManus’ extra point kick made it 13-7 with 3:59 left in the third.
East needed just two plays on its first drive of the fourth quarter to regain the lead. A 9-yard run by Levi Treinen and a 15-yard late hit penalty moved the ball to the 35 where fullback Chad Simon took it the rest of the way on the next play. East made the crucial extra point to go back on top, 14-13.
“It’s that bend but don’t break attitude,” Goettl said of the Tigers’ defense. “We’re playing some guys both ways, half time. We’re playing five sophomores on this team and three of them are on defense. Every game will make them that much better.”
East missed a field goal on its next possession following a Marshfield fumble, and the Tigers looked poised to regain the lead with a long drive.
Hoheisel had five rushes for 53 yards and the Tigers reached the 8 before McManus missed a field goal with 4:07 left.
The Tigers’ defense was able to force a punt and get the ball back to the offense with 1:47 remaining. Slade hit Isaac Huettl for a 46-yard pass on fourth-and-7 from the 43 and Hoheisel scored on the next play to give Marshfield the lead.
East reached Marshfield 35 with 8 seconds to go before Daniel was intercepted in the end zone on the final play by Mason Metz.
“Nick’s playing with a chip on his shoulder,” Goettl said. “He’s a senior. He got dinged up a couple of times last year, and he’s playing for him and us and for everybody. He’s a tough kid. The line said to just keep giving it to him. I love how everyone is playing for each other.”
Marshfield opens its home schedule with a nonconference game against D.C. Everest on Aug. 28 at Beell Stadium. The game begins at 7 p.m. and will be broadcast on WDLB-AM 1450 and wdlbwosq.com.
(Hub City Times Sports Reporter Paul Lecker is also the publisher of MarshfieldAreaSports.com.)
Tigers 19, Lumberjacks 14
Marshfield 0 6 7 6 – 19
Wausau East 0 7 0 7 – 14
M – Nick Hoheisel 25 run (run failed), 6:36.
WE – Thomas Dunbar 60 pass from Kyle Daniel (Sharrod Harper kick), 4:20.
M – Hoheisel 16 run (Zach McManus kick), 3:59.
WE – Chad Simon 35 run (Harper kick), 11:34.
M – Hoheisel 11 run (kick missed), 0:42.
First downs: Marshfield 14; Wausau East 13.
Rushing (att-yards): Marshfield 37-248; Wausau East 41-165.
Passing (comp-att-yards-int): Marshfield 6-19-89-0; Wausau East 7-21-150-1.
Penalties (no.-yards): Marshfield 6-44; Wausau East 10-74.
Fumbles (total-lost): Marshfield 2-2; Wausau East 0-0.
Punting (no.-avg.): Marshfield 6-38.5; Wausau East 6-34.5.
Rushing: M, Nick Hoheisel 25-212, Tyson Slade 11-33, Braden Bohman 1-3. WE, Chad Simon 15-95, Levy Treinen 12-37, Kyle Daniel 11-17, Gabe McGinnity 2-9, Landon Krueger 1-7.
Passing: M, Slade 6-19-89-0. WE, Daniel 7-20-150-1, Alex Becker 0-1-0-0.
Receiving: M, Isaac Huettl 2-51, Zach McManus 3-33, Bohman 1-5. WE, Thomas Dunbar 5-134, JP Lacy 1-9, McGinnity 1-7.
Punting: M, McManus 6-38.5. WE, McGinnity 6-34.5.
Fumble recoveries (defense): WE, Reggie Brown, Cory Courneya.
Interceptions (defense): M, Mason Metz.
Records: Marshfield 1-0; Wausau East 0-1.