Marines face key Bay clash
Win over Spartans would boost playoff chances
Wednesday, September 18, 2013 7:00 PM
LUXEMBURG, Wis. - Marinette has little room for error; Luxemburg-Casco has no room for error.
They'll meet Friday at 7 p.m. in a Bay Conference football game.
The Marines are 2-2 while L-C is 1-3. Both teams have unbeaten Hortonville looming ahead on the schedule. Five conference wins guarantees a playoff berth; four wins makes a playoff berth likely. Less than four wins, and you're done.
"They're one game in front of us. We've done some things to back ourselves in a corner," L-C coach Dillon Maney said. "We're pretty much in a situation where we have to win or we don't have a shot at the playoffs."
Both teams have been crushed by Seymour and West De Pere this season. Marinette still has 1-3 Shawano and winless New London on its schedule, but nothing is guaranteed, especially for a young, injury-riddled Marine team that is learning on the fly.
"We're not looking ahead, but in the grand scheme this is a big game for us," Marinette coach Andy Walters said. "This is one of the games we need to win to solidify a playoff spot."
L-C is still smarting from a 28-20 loss to Marinette last year. It ultimately meant the difference between playoffs and no playoffs for both teams.
"Both teams have been that team fighting for the playoffs," Maney said. "We've really focused on how it's been a really tough game. It's one play. Don't be the player to give up that play."
The Spartans have a good run/pass balance. Senior Caleb Willems, a first team all-conference quarterback last season, has completed 36 of 69 passes for 420 yards this year.
"They have a quarterback that understands the passing game very well," Walters said. He'll tuck the ball and hurt you with his feet if he has to. I know they lost to Denmark, but watching them in film, they're a good football team."
Receiver Danny Dorner leads the Bay with 11 receptions, and Dylan McGuire has five catches for 105 yards.
But it all starts with the ground game for L-C.
"They're a power football team," Walters said.
Cole Kirchman, a 5-foot-7, 165-pound senior, is a quick running back who has rushed for 297 yards in 63 attempts.
"We try to run the football to set up the pass," Maney said. "We need to continue to run the football. That plays to our strengths."
Marinette has a good 1-2 tandem of running backs, and a good running QB in Marcus Maguire. Sophomore Caylubb Maske is fifth in the Bay with 272 rushing yards and fullback Colton Dessart is ninth with 226 yards.
But the Marines rank last in the Bay with just 62 passing yards. Maguire was intercepted four times in the season opener at Seymour, and Walters believes that has made him gun-shy.
"I think it messed with him mentally," the coach said. "You've got to be able to make throws with guys in your face. The opportunities are there for the passing game."
The Marine defense is allowing 332 yards and nearly 31 points per game, but nearly pitched a shutout against Oconto Falls last week.
L-C's 3-5 defense has suffered the same fate as Marinette - one breakdown here, one breakdown there, and the offense breaks a big play.
"We've just got to be a little but more disciplined on defense," according to Maney. "We need to fly around and play high-intensity football on defense."
Hortonville 3-0 4-0
West De Pere 3-0 4-0
Seymour 3-1 3-1
Marinette 2-2 2-2
Denmark 2-2 2-2
Shawano 1-2 1-3
Luxemburg-Casco 1-3 1-3
New London 0-3 0-4
Oconto Falls 0-3 0-4