MFL MarMac runs past New Hampton in interesting season opener

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Running back Cullen McShane totaled 214 of MFL MarMac’s 405 rushing yards in the win over New Hampton. The senior carried the ball 18 times and scored three times on the ground. He also caught two passes and had a receiving touchdown. (Photos by Audrey Posten)

Defensive lineman Tristen Koehn (right) led the Bulldogs in tackles, with eight total, and recovered a fumble.

Sophomore quarterback Carver Blietz-Bentien was a factor in the MFL MarMac ground game, rushing for 34 yards and a touchdown on six carries. He threw the ball just five times, but completed three passes for 100 yards and a TD.

MFL MarMac’s strong offensive line, including Corbin McElwaine (62, left) and Hunter Meyer (53, right), kept quarterback Carver Blietz-Bentien protected and paved the way for 405 Bulldog rushing yards in the 42-14 win over New Hampton.

By Audrey Posten, Times-Register


The MFL MarMac football team defeated New Hampton 42-14 on Aug. 28, in a unique season opener that spanned two days.


The Bulldogs led 14-0—behind two Cullen McShane touchdowns—near the end of the first quarter Friday evening, when the game was halted due to an approaching storm. Minutes after players left the field and fans left the stands, the tornado siren sounded in Monona. An hour later, with rain still pouring and strong winds having pushed some of the bleachers onto the football field, the remainder of the game was postponed to Saturday evening.


“I think our guys were more pumped up today than last night, and I think the reason was we had them down 14-0,” said MFL MarMac head coach Dan Anderson after the game on Saturday. “That’s tough for New Hampton to come over here—it’s like showing up for a game and already being down two scores.”


“I told the guys, ‘You come out right here and get a stop on this first drive,’” he recalled. “[New Hampton] threw a deep ball right away and got down to about the 15, but we held them. Then we had an 85-yard drive, one of the nicest I’ve seen with pass and run. That kind of sealed the deal. From there on, we could do what we wanted to do.”


The drive, which ended with 4:35 remaining in the half, was capped off with a six-yard touchdown run by senior Gabe McGeough that put MFL MarMac up 20-0.


Less than a minute before halftime, McShane tallied his third TD of the game, and McGeough added the two-point conversion, increasing the Bulldog lead to 28-0.


“The first half of that football game, between last night and today, was one of the better first halves we’ve played since I’ve been here. It was all around—offense, defense, special teams,” said Anderson.


New Hampton didn’t score until later in the third quarter, after an MFL MarMac penalty for roughing the kicker gave the Chickasaws new life. The two-point conversion was no good, making it 28-6.


The Bulldogs got back in the scoring column near the end of the quarter, however, when quarterback Carver Blietz-Bentien snuck into the end zone. Kicker Jonah Wille hit the point after, giving MFL MarMac a 35-6 advantage. 


Then, with 6:34 remaining in the game, Blietz-Bentien connected with McShane on an 84-yard score that, with the extra point, made it 42-6.


New Hampton closed out the scoring a few minutes later on a touchdown and two-point conversion that cut the lead to 42-14.


Anderson said the difference maker on Friday and Saturday was MFL MarMac’s physicality.


“We knew that’s what we needed to do to make it further this year. Our kids, in practice, have been working to be more physical, and they were. We were the more physical team on offense and defense,” he stated.


That was especially true with the ground game, where the Bulldogs racked up 405 rushing yards, including 214 by McShane. The senior carried the ball 18 times, averaging over 11 yards per attempt, and scored three times on the ground; he also caught two passes and had a receiving touchdown. McGeough had 72 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries, while sophomore Bryce Radloff accumulated 30 yards on three attempts.


Sophomore quarterback Blietz-Bentien was a factor in the ground game too, rushing for 34 yards and a touchdown on six carries. He threw the ball just five times, but completed three passes for 100 yards and a TD.


“Carver did an awesome job. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a first-year quarterback lead a team and make the decisions he made,” said Anderson. “He tucked the ball a couple times and ran when he needed to, he threw the ball right on the money. He really took charge out there, and there is no question he is going to be a good leader for us.”


Defensively, MFL MarMac held New Hampton to just 77 rushing yards, and although the Chickasaws completed several big pass plays, quarterback Mason Lane was under pressure throughout the game.


Sophomore Tristen Koehn was the Bulldogs’ tackling leader, with 8 total and 2 for a loss. He also recovered a fumble. Radloff tallied 7 tackles, and McGeough, sophomore Wyatt Powell and junior Austin Schlee all had 6. McGeough and Powell combined on a sack as well.


“The game plan was, when you’ve got some younger DBs, you don’t want to make them cover for too long. We had ways to either bring four or five, or there were a couple times we even brought seven guys. We got pressure on the quarterback and made him throw it quick,” Anderson said. “The kids executed the game plan almost perfectly other than some stupid penalties, which we will clean up.”


Next up for the Bulldogs, on Friday, Sept. 3, will be Clayton Ridge (1-0)—a rivalry match-up Anderson compared to Iowa/Iowa State.


“We see them in all sports, and these guys talk to each other. They’ve got a really good team this year, and have got a lot of seniors back. I have a feeling it’s going to be two teams who respect each other but don’t necessarily like each other,” he said.


The game will start at 7 p.m., in Guttenberg.

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