In Ottumwa High School football coach Brian Goodvin’s mind, no game is a measuring-stick game, or carries more importance than any other.
Not even today’s matchup, which has a familial ring to it.
For the first time, Goodvin and his son, Adam, will be head coaches on opposite sidelines when the Bulldogs host Marshalltown at 7:30 p.m. at Schafer Stadium. Both teams are coming off impressive victories in their season openers, basically by doing the same things.
“It’s been different the last couple years because Marshalltown has been on our schedule,” Brian Goodvin said. “But our program isn’t in a position to put any extra juice into a certain game. We’re going one snap at a time, and if we keep doing that, the end results will be what we’re looking for.”
Both teams have had early success in their wing-T-based offense, and they also have quarterbacks who can throw the ball out of it. It was the offense Adam ran during his prep years with the Bulldogs, and both teams are fine-tuning those offenses.
“I think they’re going to be a tough football team,” Adam Goodvin told the Times-Republican newspaper in Marshalltown. “They’re not overly big guys, but they got speed and can put their foot in the ground and make some cuts. We’re going to have to react well defensively.”
Ottumwa is coming off a win against Burlington in which it scored its most points in almost seven years in a 47-21 victory. The Bulldogs jumped out to a 20-0 lead on the strength of a pair of touchdown passes by Adam Denniston, but they also got a special teams touchdown on a blocked punt. The defense recovered a pair of fumbles as well.
Still, the Bulldogs rely heavily on their rushing attack, and it produced in the opener. Both Kie Glosser (145 yards) and Gage Cole (101) topped 100 yards on the ground as the Bulldogs rolled up more than 450 yards total offense.
“Every day we work on the fundamentals of our offense. I think maybe in the past we’ve tried to mold the players to fit the offense, but I think this is a good fit for the kids we have,” Brian Goodvin said. “There’s nothing special about it, but it’s a good, solid high school offense.
“There aren’t a lot of teams familiar with it, but Marshalltown is,” he said. “So we have to really make it more crisp and shore up the execution.”
Marshalltown was impressive in a 55-14 win over Des Moines North last week. Junior quarterback Brendan Bates threw four touchdown passes, the Bobcats were balanced running the ball and the defense forced a pair of turnovers.
Still, Adam Goodvin believes his team must get better to pick up a second win.
“We can’t turn the football over,” he said. “We have got to be a tougher football team. We have to be the more physical team and I think I really like our chances if we can do those two things.”
Last season, the Bulldogs lost this game to start a seven-game losing streak. It’s a new season and new teams, and a chance for a new result for Ottumwa.
“We see where we measure up against teams on a weekly basis, and our focus is on every play,” Brian Goodvin said. “Last Friday was last Friday. We’re 1-0 now, and want to be again this week. These guys have put in the work and effort to do everything possible to make the outcome in our favor.”