MARCUS - The gritty Marcus-Meriden-Cleghorn Eagles, playing as cool, calm and collected as their first-year coaching staff, stayed the course against undefeated Class A District leaders Woodbury Central here Friday night, before falling 21-10 in a hard-hitting, quality football game.
The visiting Wildcats forged a 15-3 first-half lead after capitalizing on good field position and a pass interception. Woodbury Central scored its first two TDs on a two-yard run by Seth Lloyd in the first quarter, and a 10-yard TD pass from quarterback Jeremy Rogers to Phillip Avery in the second frame.
MMC countered with a 38-yard field goal off the talented toe of kicker Kevin Leavitt in the second period to set the halftime score.
After a scoreless third quarter punctuated by savvy, hard-hitting defenses, both teams tallied TDs in the fourth. The winners scored on a one-yard run by Lloyd, and the host Eagles scored on a thrilling 49-yard TD pass from QB Tim Holmes to Leavitt, who then added the PAT kick.
The stout Wildcat defense limited MMC to just 82 yards rushing on 31 carries. Leavitt led the way for the Eagles with 18 carries for 47 yards. Mitch Erdman hauled it five times for 16 yards.
Holmes finished with 12 completions in 20 passing attempts for 113 yards, one TD, and one interception. Rogers was 7-10 passing for 83 yards and one TD for the Wildcats.
Jared Letsche led MMC receivers with nine catches for 51 yards, and Leavitt caught three for 62 yards and a TD.
The Eagles played without the quality services of Nate Dammann on both sides of the ball, who sat out with an injury.
Steven Wetherell led the tough MMC defense with 14 tackles, while Kyle Kohn and Tucker Petersen had five tackles each.
"I can't fault the effort," said first-year coach Brian Williams, who is assisted by capable former Eagles Brad Cave, and Dean Bindner. "We fought the whole game and played hard. I have a good feeling about this team. The second half was a well as we've played on defense this season.
"We were so close on offense on several plays. We were just one block and one penalty away from breaking one and putting points on the board. They're a tough team, but we were right there. We were close all night."
MMC treks to rival Le Mars Gehlen Friday night and a win would keep the 5-2 (4-1 in district play) Eagles in a possible state playoff berth. District leader Woodbury Central carries on with a 7-0 record.