Some nights, not much goes right.
The Marshall football team had one of those nights Friday, falling to Winnebago Lutheran by a wide margin in their regular-season finale.
The final score, 56-0.
The Cardinals’ mishaps started early against the visiting Vikings.
“We weren’t ready to go from the get-go,” said Marshall head coach Matt Kleinheinz. “We muffed the opening kickoff, we went backwards on our first drive, they score in a play, we come out our second drive and fumble the first snap. They jump on it, they run three, four plays (and) it was 14-0.”
Winnebago Lutheran took to the air in the first quarter, finding the end zone on a pair of touchdown passes following miscues by the Cardinals.
After a 4-yard scoring run by the Vikings early in the second, Winnebago Lutheran’s lead was 21-0. Marshall’s defense was able to clamp down for the remainder of the half, keeping the Vikings’ offense out of the end zone.
Unfortunately, Marshall’s offense couldn’t do the same. With seconds remaining in the half, a Cardinal pass was picked off and returned for a score. At the half, Marshall faced a 28-0 deficit.
“We need to find a way to have a better start,” said Kleinheinz. “We need to find a way to have a better week of practice.”
Things didn’t improve for the Cardinals in the second half. The Vikings kept the ball on the ground, rushing for two more scores in the third quarter to put a running clock in place.
In the fourth, miscues continued for Marshall; two more turnovers — first an interception and later a fumble — were returned for scores by the Viking defense.
“They’re giving me everything they’ve got; we just need more of them,” Kleinheinz said of his senior class. “It’s a senior-dominated sport, and we have seven of them… That’s hard. There was a time tonight when we had five sophomores and three freshmen out there on defense in a varsity football game, that’s tough.”
Dylan Horstmeyer led the Cardinals with 66 yards rushing, and Craig Ward was tops on the night through the air for Marshall with 19 yards. Jack Moen was the team’s leading receiver with nine yards, while Gus Timpel added seven receiving yards.
Marshall (2-7, 2-2 Capitol South) looks to wipe the slate clean as the postseason arrives. By virtue of their .500 conference record, the Cardinals qualified for the WIAA Division 5 playoffs. Marshall received a No. 8 seed, and will travel to top-seeded Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau Friday night with hopes of scoring an upset.
Kickoff is 7 p.m.
WINNEBAGO LUTHERAN ACADEMY 56
WLA 14 14 14 14 — 56
Marshall 0 0 0 0 — 0
WLA — Nell, 38 pass from Weigand (Herkstroeter kick).
WLA — Nell, 18 pass from Weigand (Herkstroeter kick).
WLA — Lofton 4 run (kick failed).
WLA — Nell, 11 interception return (Lofton run).
WLA — Schwartz, 65 run (Herkstroeter kick).
WLA — Lofton, 1 run (Herkstroeter kick).
WLA — Schwartz, 25 interception return (Herkstroeter kick).
WLA — Weigand, 19 fumble return (Hoekstroeter kick).
First Downs — WLA 5 M 11. Rushing (Att.-Yds.) — WLA 24-101, M 24-56. Passing Yards — WLA 116, M 19. Passes (Comp.-Att.-Int.) — WLA 7-17-1, M 5-16-2. Fumbles-lost — WLA 0-0 M 3-3. Penalties — WLA 4-35, M 5-50.