On defense, Ottumwa will have to stay disciplined if the Bulldogs hope to avoid giving up any big plays to the Bobcats.
“Defensively, we just need to contain the quarterback and that’s been an issue where we’ve struggled at times this year,” Ottumwa coach Zach Pfantz said.
Cole Eklund really had a strong second half against the Indians, registering tackle after tackle despite the lopsided score. In addition, Chris Peden is having another monster season, as he leads the Bulldogs in tackles with 36 and Sam Kramer has had a solid year with 29 tackles. Senior strong safety Titus Weller also has had a admirable season with 24 tackles overall.
The Bulldogs face a team that has had to deal with its share of struggles this year. The Bobcats, who lost the breadth of their premier players last season, have yet to garner a win four games into their season. But, it’s unwise to underestimate any opponent, especially coming off a rough loss.
Although a discouraged feeling permeated through the Bulldog roster immediately following their loss to the Indians, that feeling hasn’t stuck.
“The mood has been pretty good and I think we’re excited,” Pfantz said.
The Bobcat offense is led by quarterback Dylan Diveney, who has completed 44-93 passes for 374 yards this year. Diveney also happens to be Marshalltown’s leading rusher with 45 rushes for 132 yards. Ranking second on the Bobcats in rushing yards is Joe Rebik, who has 48 rushes for 74 yards. Marshalltown’s receiving crew is spearheaded by Austin Lovin, who has 14 receptions for 130 yards and Austin Sowers, who has 10 grabs for 99 yards. Defensively, Derek Mann leads the Bobcats in tackles with 53 and Ben Rebik has 24 tackles.
“The biggest thing that we’re focused on is improving ourselves,” Pfantz said. “Our focus has been more on making sure that we learn from the areas we struggled in this past week. We just want to get better every week as a football team.”