Bulldogs welcomed home (2-4 column photo)

The Ottumwa High School student section greets the Bulldog football players as they make the walk down the stands to the gridiron at Schafer Stadium on Friday night prior to the first home football game of the 2020 season.

OTTUMWA — The Bulldogs had their moments on Friday night in the first game of the 2020 season.

Marshalltown, however, had more bodies. That ultimately proved to be difference.

The Bobcats overcame a terrible start, fumbling on the first play from scrimmage before allowing a touchdown on the second play. Brendan Bates threw four touchdown passes, including two in the second half as Marshalltown scored the final 28 points of a 42-21 road win at Ottumwa, giving former Bulldog quarterback Adam Goodvin three straight wins over his former school as Bobcat head football coach with the last two both coming in Ottumwa and both coming in head-to-head coaching match-ups with his dad.

"It's a weird feeling. It definitely feels a little different, but that's in the back of my mind," Adam Goodvin said after improving to 2-2 this season. "At the front of my mind, just I told my guys after the game, is that we'll take any win and savor it as much as possible."

Brian Goodvin, in his second season as Ottumwa head football coach, fell to 0-2 in head-to-head match-ups with his son. The Bobcats spoiled Ottumwa's home opener last season, winning 26-14 on Sept. 6. Bates threw two touchdown passes that night as the Bobcats scored the final 13 points that night, rushing for almost 400 yards while taking the lead for good on a 13-yard touchdown run by Patrick Landeros midway through the third quarter.

On Friday, Bates found more success finding one of the state's top tight ends through the air. Carson Williams hauled in nine catches for 108 yards, including four separate drive-extending receptions in the first half.

"It's tough to keep other teams off balance because he is such a great player," Adam Goodvin said of Williams. "What some people don't notice is what an outstanding job he does for us in the run game. You watch film and see that impact. He's a big, tough kid that really loves the game."

The elder Goodvin agreed with his son.

"They've got a heck of a player in No. 87. We knew that going in and he performed tonight," Brian Goodvin said. "Of course, our No. 87 wasn't too bad."

That No. 87 is Trae Swartz, who made an immediate impact in Friday's home opener jumping on a bad shotgun snap on the first play of the game as Ottumwa took over possession on the Marshalltown 14. Adam Denniston got the ball right back to Swartz on Ottumwa's first play, finding the senior tight end across the middle for a touchdown pass nine seconds into the game that gave the Bulldogs a 7-0 lead.

"This is how we should be playing football all the time," Swartz said. "That was huge for us. This team runs off momentum."

Ottumwa (0-4) carried the momentum into stopping Marshalltown on the next drive and quickly drove inside the Bobcat 30 again after Swartz hauled in a 24-yard catch on the sidelines. Denniston, however, was sacked two plays later leading to a 45-yard field attempt by Jesus Jaime that drifted wide left, keeping the Bulldog lead at 7-0. 

"There was definitely a lot of enthusiasm at the start of the game. It was Senior Night. It was our first home game. It was all wrapped up into one big night," Brian Goodvin said. "Every time we made a big play, it seemed like they had an answer."

The first answer came on a 16-play, 80-yard drive that followed Ottumwa's missed opportunity at building a two-score lead. Williams made five catches for 55 yards on the drive, including a diving 15-yard touchdown catch that tied the game at 7-7 after one quarter.

After forcing Ottumwa's first punt, Marshalltown drove 89 more yards in the second quarter overcoming a pair of holding penalties along the way. Williams had another big 25-yard catch that set up a seven-yard touchdown run by Malik Haynes, putting the Bobcats in front 14-7.

"That drive really made a difference," Brian Goodvin said. "That's really where they started to assert themselves."

Ottumwa responded by calling on Colton McKinnon to do something he hadn't done in several years. McKinnon rolled out and threw a 35-yard pass to Blaze Rominger, setting up a 14-yard tying touchdown run by Kie Glosser midway through the second quarter.

"I don't think I've thrown a pass since I was playing for the Ottumwa Youth Football League in fifth grade," McKinnon said. "It was a duck, but it got there and Blaze did a great job catching it."

Marshalltown's hope of answering on the next drive ended after Harris fumbled at the end of a 28-yard run, giving Ottumwa the ball near midfield. Six plays later, McKinnon found the endzone himself scoring a 53-yard touchdown dash to give the Bulldogs a 21-14 lead.

That, however, would be Ottumwa's last lead of the night. Marshalltown needed six plays to go 80 yards in 58 seconds with Bates finding Williams on a 17-yard scrambling pass to the endzone with 16.3 seconds to go in the half, tying the score at 21-21.

"I think that took a lot of our momentum away," McKinnon said. "We worked so hard to get the lead. It took them almost no time to erase it."

Marshalltown never looked back after stopping Ottumwa on three plays to open the second half. Austin Close blocked a punt by Jaime, setting up the Bobcats at the Bulldog 7. Gunner Williams caught a six-yard touchdown pass two plays later, giving Marshalltown a 28-21 lead.

Landeros scored on a third-quarter touchdown run at Schafer Stadium for the second straight year, powering in from a yard out late in the period giving the Bobcats a 35-21 lead. Bates put the finishing touches on the win early in the fourth quarter, finding Auron Greenwood on a 34-yard screen pass for a score.

Ottumwa hosts No. 1 (4A) Southeast Polk next Friday night.

— Scott Jackson can be reached at sjackson@ottumwacourier.com. Follow him on Twitter@CourierScott.

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