Marshall beats Brodhead/Juda late
BRODHEAD—Brodhead/Juda figured Ty DeForest would roll out and determine his best option to convert on a pivotal fourth down.
Marshall's senior quarterback agreed that, against the Cardinals' stout defense, more often than not he would have broken the pocket.
But DeForest stood tall on fourth-and-five and completed a 20-yard pass over the middle to senior Sam Schwenn to Brodhead/Juda's 4-yard line. DeForest plowed in from one yard out three plays later to give Marshall the lead with 1:38 remaining.
Brodhead/Juda fumbled on the ensuing kickoff, and Marshall held on for a 9-7 road victory in a battle of Cardinals in a WIAA Division 4 Level 2 playoff game Friday night.
Marshall moves on to play Lodi in a state quarterfinal next week. Brodhead/Juda, which won a share of the Rock Valley South Conference title, finished its season with a 9-2 record.
“You couldn't have found two more even teams,” Brodhead/Juda coach B.J. Bockhop said. “They just threw the last punch. That's all that happened.
“We thought he was going to roll out, but he stayed in the pocket. And the kid made a catch when it needed to be done.”
It was one of just two completions up to that point for DeForest, who has thrown for more than 1,000 yards this season.
But three total completions were enough on a night when both defenses made sure first downs and points came at a premium.
“It was a do-or-die play,” DeForest said. “We knew that defensive line was going to stunt and do everything they could to get pressure on me. I'm not going to lie, I scramble when I get pressured; I'm not a pocket quarterback.
“But my offensive line did an awesome job.”
Marshall needed the late scoring drive after first coughing up the football and then the lead.
DeForest's 25-yard first-quarter field goal had held up until that point. But he fumbled the ball over to Brodhead/Juda while attempting to fight for a first down.
Brodhead/Juda started on Marshall's 25-yard line, and quarterback Brennan Bescup bootlegged for a 9-yard touchdown with 6:27 remaining.
“He knows where the sticks are and he's going to find them,” Bockhop said. “He's one of many seniors that will really be missed.”
On the ensuing kickoff, Marshall picked up a dribbler and returned the ball to near midfield. A personal foul penalty on Brodhead/Juda allowed DeForest to start the game-winning drive just 39 yards away from the end zone.
Brodhead/Juda held tough for three plays until DeForest found Schwenn on the biggest play of the game.
Marshall finished with eight first downs and 139 yards of total offense. DeForest had 20 carries for 40 yards.
Brodhead/Juda had nine first downs and 144 total yards. Mitchell Johnson and Griffin Day, who entered the game with nearly 2,000 rushing yards between them, combined for 97 yards on 24 carries.
“I know they're ranked No. 2,” DeForest said of Brodhead/Juda, “but that right there is the best team in the state, no doubt.”
In the end, it was DeForest's rare pocket presence that has his Cardinals still in the hunt for that official title.