Marshfield running back Caleb Alexander runs around the edge for a 27-yard touchdown run during the Tigers’ 35-7 win over Wisconsin Rapids on Friday at Beell Stadium in Marshfield. (Photo by Paul Lecker/MarshfieldAreaSports.com)
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By Paul Lecker
MARSHFIELD – Playing in the WIAA playoffs has become a tradition with the Marshfield football program. That tradition will continue in 2013.
Marshfield junior running back Caleb Alexander scored three touchdowns and the Tigers held Wisconsin Rapids’ running game in check as they rolled to a 35-7 win on Friday at Beell Stadium, clinching their 18th straight postseason appearance.
Marshfield scored on five of its first seven offensive possessions to open up a 35-0 lead early in the third quarter and start a running clock situation.
Marshfield improves to 5-1 overall and 4-0 in the Valley Football Association South Division, while Wisconsin Rapids drops to 1-5 and remains winless at 0-4 in the conference.
“We have a great tradition here and we go out to win every single game,” Alexander said. “That’s how we play – tough and to win.”
Alexander had 115 yards rushing on just seven carries, which included a 71-yard touchdown run on the first play of the second quarter that gave the Tigers a 14-0 lead. Alexander also had a 24-yard touchdown run to cap off Marshfield’s first drive of the game.
“We’ve got our offense together and are making great blocks,” Alexander said. “Every single game we’ve had guys score not even touched. You can’t ask for anything better.”
Wisconsin Rapids ended up with 178 yards rushing, but it took 49 carries to accomplish that total. The Raiders were playing without their top running back Ryan Duxbury and quarterback Jayson Wiernik, who were out with injuries.
Fullback Jeremy Statz tried to pick up the slack, running for 118 yards on 32 carries, but had only two runs of more than 10 yards as the Tigers’ defense held their own against the Raiders’ option offense.
“When you run that type of offense, you’re relying on those kids and their ability level to give the other team fits,” Marshfield coach Denny Goettl said. “I’m not saying that was the only reason we stopped them. Coach (defensive coordinator Len Luedtke Jr.) talked all week about assignment football. We made some adjustments stepping down inside. We played a good game.”
Keiron Howlett added a 16-yard touchdown run and Luke Zuiker hit Alexander for a 28-yard touchdown pass with 1:01 to go before halftime, putting Marshfield up 28-0 at the break.
Zuiker then tossed a 37-yard strike to Brad Krueger on the Tigers’ first possession of the third quarter to complete their scoring.
Rapids’ only score came midway through the fourth quarter on a 2-yard run by Statz.
“Hopefully we can keep winning football games and doing the best we can keeping healthy, perfecting what we do on offense and defense, and we’re going to hope for the best,” Goettl said.
Marshfield hosts Menasha next week for its homecoming game. The game will be at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 4, at Beell Stadium and will be broadcast on WDLB-AM 1450 and wdlbwosq.com.
Tigers 35, Raiders 7
Wisconsin Rapids 0 0 0 7 – 7
Marshfield 7 21 7 0 – 35
M – Caleb Alexander 24 run (Brad Krueger kick), 10:22.
M – Alexander 71 run (Krueger kick), 11:51.
M – Keiron Howlett 16 run (Krueger kick), 6:37.
M – Alexander 28 pass from Luke Zuiker (Krueger kick), 1:01.
M – Krueger 37 pass from Zuiker (Krueger kick), 8:33.
WR – Jeremy Statz 1 run (Katelyn Becker kick), 6:55.
First downs: Marshfield 8; Wisconsin Rapids 13.
Rushing (att-yards): Marshfield 22-195; Wisconsin Rapids 49-178.
Passing (comp-att-yards-int): Marshfield 7-10-91-1; Wisconsin Rapids 2-9-21-2.
Fumbles (total-lost): Marshfield 2-0; Wisconsin Rapids 2-1.
Penalties (No.-yards): Marshfield 7-71; Wisconsin Rapids 5-53.
Rushing: WR, Jeremy Statz 32-118, Garrett Lysne 1-20, Jared Halbur 11-16, Logan Wimme 2-9, No. 6 1-6, Tim Ridenour 1-5, Logan Boettcher 1-4. M, Caleb Alexander 7-115, Keiron Howlett 5-41, Travis Lutz 2-35, Thomas Gisvold 3-7, Trevor Heiman 1-1, No. 49 1-1, Luke Zuiker 1-minus 1, Colton Zahradka 1-minus 4.
Passing: WR, Halbur 1-7-21-2, Payton Heiman 1-2-10-0. M, Zahradka 3-5-28-1, Zuiker 3-4-52-0, Derek Coffren 1-1-10-0.
Receiving: WR, Logan Wimme 1-21, No. 85 1-10. M, Jeffrey Allison 3-28, Brad Krueger 2-47, Alexander 1-28, Jace Krasselt 1-8.
Fumble recoveries (defense): M, Craig Serchen.
Interceptions (defense): M, Cullen Bump, Matt Oestreich. WR, Colton Neiman.
Punting (no.-avg.): M, Craig Zalizniak 3-35.0. WR, Garrett Lysne 3-37.0.
Records: Marshfield 5-1, 4-0 Valley Football Association South; Wisconsin Rapids 1-5, 0-4 VFA South.