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Monday, May 2, 2016

Owls get second crack at Moberly

Friday, October 26, 2012

Senior Alex Maupin ran for 104 yards and two touchdowns during the Owls' first trip to Moberly.
(Chris Alen/Democrat-News)
It's not often a high school football team gets a second chance at an opponent during a season, especially before the playoffs, but the new MSHSAA district format is creating all sorts of strange situations.

Marshall is one of those clubs provided a rematch when it heads to Moberly today, having lost its NCMC contest four weeks ago by four touchdowns.

"In football, I always think it's pretty tough to beat somebody twice," Owls head coach Jon Stockman remarked. "Hopefully, those guys are thinking 41-12 the last time, we're going to match that."

In the previous meeting, Marshall trailed by only eight points until the final minute of the third quarter. Then the Spartans scored twice with a 26-second span, junior Justin Connaway's short TD pass to sophomore Gregg Bain quickly followed by a pick-six by senior Brandon Elkins.

The Owls' five turnovers and 12 penalties for 132 yards were too much for them to overcome.

"They killed us the first time we went up there," Stockman admitted. "If we clean those things up, I think our kids are ready to play a good football game."

Although Marshall (5-4) contained the Spartans' leading rusher, senior Joe Galaske, it was hurt on the outside by the running of Connaway and Bain -- along with the quarterback's 12 completions for 135 yards, directed primarily to the edges.

"We've just got to play assignment-sound and do our jobs first," Stockman said.

The Owls weren't completely shut down by Moberly (7-2), seniors Alex Maupin and Marc Plummer combining for 201 rushing yards. However, Marshall was forced into attempting a season-high 23 passes, three of them intercepted.

"We can run our game at them, something we got away from a little bit last time," Stockman said. "The bottom line is that we've to take care of the football better."

That was a problem a week ago during the Owls' 28-6 loss at Boonville, coughing the ball up five times to lose for the third time in four games following a 4-1 start. Marshall appeared to be a battered squad after that game, but is back to as close to full strength as it was the last time it played the Spartans.

This is the start of the Class 4, District 6 Tournament, when all slates are wiped clean and every Cinderella has a chance to reach the playoffs if it can put together a three-game win streak. The fifth-seeded Owls, winless a year ago, believe they can wear that golden slipper if they get by No. 4 Moberly.

"Win and keep playing, lose and you're done," Stockman declared. "It's a huge game for these seniors, it's a huge game for this program."

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