It didn’t come easy, but Marshfield traveled to Springfield last Friday night and came home with a 49-39 verdict over Springfield Catholic for the Jays’ first win of the season.

The standout performance of the night was delivered by senior running back Daylon Kanengieter, who ran for 316 yards and six touchdowns on 31 carries. His production included 11 carries of 10 yards or more, including scoring jaunts of 47, 33 and 28 yards.

“Daylon's finally up to full speed,” said Blue Jays head coach Cody Bull. “He had a hamstring injury, and I'm still not sure he's completely 100%. But he's pretty close.”

The effort helped set program records for both rushing yards and points scored in a game.

When Kanengieter needed a breather, the offense didn't miss a beat, as senior fullback Taylor Cappel crashed through the line for 71 yards on just seven carries and scored the remaining Blue Jay touchdown.

“We got Taylor back this week, which was a big help,” said Coach Bull. “He's a really good player both on offense and defense, which creates some great depth for us. It means some others don't have to play as much. Taylor had a good night, especially for someone who hasn't gotten to play.”

A stumbling start

The Blue Jays received the game's opening kickoff and immediately started covering significant yardage — in the wrong direction. After the drive started at the Marshfield 30-yard line, a holding penalty and two illegal procedure calls moved the ball all the way back to the 12-yard line. A workman-like Catholic scoring drive after the subsequent Marshfield punt had the Blue Jay faithful wondering if it was going to be a long night.

But on this night, that represented the dark before the dawn. A 26-yard run by Cappel got the ball rolling on the next Blue Jay drive, followed by runs of 11, 8 and 13 yards by Kannengieter, which gave Marshfield a 1st-and-goal at the 4-yard line. Kanengieter bowled it in from there.

The defense forced a three-and-out on the following Catholic possession, and the ensuing Blue Jay drive featured three more double-figure runs from Kanengieter, who proved very difficult to bring down for the Irish defenders. The Marshfield senior often dragged what seemed like half the Catholic defense down the field with him. A two-yard plunge gave Kanengieter his second score and the Blue Jays a 14-7 lead.

The Irish managed to push the ball down the field for what appeared to be the tying score just before halftime, but the extra-point attempt was blocked, sending the game into intermission with Marshfield clinging to a 14-13 lead.

High-octane half

The second half started with a gaffe on kick coverage, something that has plagued the Blue Jays in the season's early going. The Irish started their drive from the Marshfield 38-yard line and took only two plays to score on a 37-yard pass play. However, they once again failed on the extra point, this time trying a two-point conversion.

The Blue Jays came storming back. The ensuing drive featured a 37-yard pass from sophomore Bryant Bull to senior Blake Anderson. For Bull, it was one of only four completed passes on the night of 12 attempts, though he did add 30 rushing yards on three carries. The completion to Anderson set up a three-yard TD plunge for Cappel.

“Our guys just battled,” said Coach Bull. “Obviously, there are a lot of things we've got to do better. But our physical nature and our attitude — just the way they battled for four quarters — was evident. Nobody laid down; our effort is there. We've just got to fix a few things yet.”

Kicking team steps up 

One thing the Blue Jays did fix on the next kickoff was the coverage issue, as sophomore Joe Harles drove it over the returner's head and into the end zone. For the remainder of the contest, kick coverage was a Blue Jay strength. Harles was also perfect on all seven extra-point attempts, which became vital as the game wore on, since Catholic failed on three PATs, effectively converting a one-TD lead into a two-score advantage for the Blue Jays.

Long runs were on the docket for the next two possessions, with Catholic scoring on a 41-yard scamper, followed by a Jays’ reply via a 47-yard Kanengieter jaunt for his third TD.

Then the Marshfield defense did something that only happened once in the second half for either team — a three-and-out.

Scoring flurry to the finish

The Blue Jay offense kept up the pressure with a seven-play, 62-yard drive. Kanengieter rambled the final 33 yards on a 3rd-and-16 play after a Marshfield holding penalty. That gave the Blue Jays the first two-score lead of the contest at 35-25.

Once again, the Irish were able to respond in a hurry with a 65-yard pass, but the Irish players' excitement got the better of them, as they were flagged for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty after the score, with the walk-off to be taken on the ensuing kickoff.

That 15-yard step-off combined with a nice return by junior Sheldon Espy to put the Blue Jay offense back in business at the Catholic 42-yard line. From there, a 16-yard Cappel run teed up Kanengieter for his fifth score of the game, this time from three yards out, restoring the 10-point Marshfield lead with just over eight minutes to play.

Catholic wasn’t done yet. At the 5:14 mark, the Irish connected for a 19-yard scoring strike, and came close to successfully recovering the attempted onside kick, but the Blue Jays came out of the pile with the ball at their own 41-yard line and promptly pushed the ball down the field once again, with Kanengieter collecting his sixth TD of the night from 28 yards out at the 3:23 mark.

Three minutes can seem like a long time — especially when scores come quick. It looked as though that had happened again on a 65-yard Irish one-play-all-the-way, but a downfield holding call brought the ball back as far as the Marshfield 41-yard line. From there, a successful hook-and-lateral play pushed the Irish into the red zone, however, the beleaguered Jays’ defense stiffened, keeping the Irish out of the end zone. 

With less than a minute to play, Marshfield took over on downs at the 8-yard line and ran out the clock to claim the hard-fought triumph.

“We did a good job tackling, and finally getting off some blocks the right way,” said Coach Bull about the defensive stand at the end. “In the secondary, we've got a bunch of inexperienced guys that are playing their butts off. They're getting some valuable experience, especially playing against a really special receiver like (junior Liam O'Reilly). They had a tough test, and Travis Greenfield, toward the end, stepped up and took over that responsibility and did a good job.”

Coming up

The Blue Jays return home this Friday for a tilt with the Tigers of Hollister. The Tigers also picked up their first win of the season Friday night, topping Seneca, 14-12. That followed losses to Monett and Nevada.

Gater run 1 or 2 — Marshfield senior running back Daylon Kanengieter had a night to remember against Springfield Catholic Friday night, rushing for 300 yards and six touchdowns in the Blue Jays' 49-39 win.

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