Prep football rewind: Marion sees positives in opening loss

Notes from Week 1

New Marion head football coach Tim Lovell gives instruction to players during the first day of practice at Marion High School in Marion, Iowa, on Monday, Aug. 8, 2016. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
New Marion head football coach Tim Lovell gives instruction to players during the first day of practice at Marion High School in Marion, Iowa, on Monday, Aug. 8, 2016. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — A win will come. It just didn’t come Friday night for the Marion Indians.

Tim Lovell’s first game as head coach was a tough one, as LaPorte City Union blanked Marion, 35-0, in the season opener at LaPorte City. It was Marion’s 18th-consecutive loss.

The Knights got a 50-yard touchdown run from Isaiah Vaughan on their first play from scrimmage and started the continuous clock in the third when Jordan Schmitz returned an interception for a score. Not the way Lovell wanted the opener to go, though he found positives.

“We can compete,” he said. “In building this program, we know it’s going to be a process here, and that’s exciting ... We’ve got to earn it.”

Marion was limited to 199 offensive yards and had three turnovers, all interceptions. Those are numbers that must improve (or decrease, in the case of the turnovers).

Lovell was encouraged by what he saw on the other side of the football.

“I’d say we made a few mistakes fundamentally,” he said. “But I thought our defense played very well. There were just a lot nerves out there. I could tell that.”

Next week is the home opener at Thomas Park against Benton Community. The Bobcats steamrolled past Oelwein in their opener Friday night, 49-6, so it’ll be another tough task for Marion.

“The guys competed the entire way,” Lovell said. “They kept competing, even after they got the clock running, whenever that was. They didn’t give in. I think they understand maybe they shot themselves in the foot a couple of times. The other thing is that’s a really good football team we played in Union.

“It was a measuring stick, to see where we’re at and how much work left we’ve got to do. That game isn’t going to define us. It’s about finding little successes here and there.”

Which will eventually lead to big successes like wins.


• West Des Moines Valley made a major early statement in Class 4A with a 49-13 beatdown of Bettendorf. The Tigers rolled to a 42-7 halftime lead, getting a continuous clock rolling to begin the second half. Quarterback Rocky Lombardi, a Michigan State commit and former Cedar Rapids Washington prep, accounted for four touchdowns (two passing and two rushing).

• Bennett Goetsch rushed for 246 yards and five touchdowns to help lift Iowa Valley past HLV, 57-34. The Tigers also got 149 rushing yards and two TDs from quarterback Jacob Krakow. IV and Lone Tree, which moved from Class A to Eight-Player football this season, are both 2-0. Lone Tree crushed Tri-County, 66-0, behind 7-for-7 passing, 174 yards and four touchdowns from QB Trey Pierson.

• Cedar Rapids Jefferson will play the rest of its sophomore schedule after not playing its opener Friday night against Pleasant Valley. Low numbers of participants forced the first-game cancellation, but varsity head coach Brian Webb said Saturday the rest of the sophomore season “is a go.” Jefferson’s next game is this coming Friday night at Cedar Rapids Prairie.

• Cedar Rapids Washington Coach Paul James is working at the school again. He has been hired on a temporary contract as a mentor for interim activities director Grant Schultz. James retired from his AD position after last school season, though he was rehired to coach football. Schultz was a late replacement for Mike Johnson, who stepped down recently amid the teacher-student sex scandal that rocked the school and also led to the registration of longtime principal Dr. Ralph Plagman.

• Western Dubuque won its first game as a Class 4A school, albeit against 3A Dubuque Wahlert, 24-3. Quarterback Dylan Gotto threw three TDs for the Bobcats, who moved up to Iowa’s highest class this season. The Bobcats’ 4A opener is Sept. 9 at home against Waterloo West. Their 4A district opener is Sept. 23 against Pleasant Valley.

• Known as a high-flying passing team, Cascade instead rushed for 404 yards in an impressive 47-12 win over Maquoketa.

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