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COTTAGE GROVE — The scoring started and just never quite stopped for Marshfield.

The Pirates (2-2) scored on their first nine possessions on their way to a 78-29 road win over Cottage Grove (0-4) in their Sky-Em League opener.

“We don’t want to score that many points, I don’t feel good about it at all. I should be feeling a lot more happy than what I’m feeling right now,” said Marshfield head coach John Lemmons. “That’s not us, we don’t want to make anyone feel like that.”

It was a sign of things to come when the Lions took the field in the pregame warmups with just 14 players in uniform. During the week, six Cottage Grove players were reportedly suspended due to a hazing incident.

After the Marshfield defense forced a three-and-out on the first drive, it was time for the offense to take over. In the 11-touchdown game, the Pirates struck early and often working their way to a 35-0 lead by about midway through the second quarter.

“It feels great as a team when we can execute that well and get touchdowns that quick,” said senior running back Josiah Niblett. “Our last couple of games we didn’t really come out sharp at the beginning so it felt really good to come out, get a stop on defense and execute the plays and score.”

Niblett left his mark in the game in the first half when he proved nearly impossible to be taken down. On his five first-half carries, he found the back of the end zone four times. In the process he picked up 133 first-half rushing yards. Niblett finished the game with seven carries for 143 yards.

“He ran good tonight and made some good cuts and had some good vision. Him and his brother (Noah) both had a heck of a game,” said Lemmons. “And I thought our quarterback (Dom Montiel) played pretty well and our line.”

While Josiah had four touchdowns, his brother Noah stayed busy with one rushing, receiving and passing touchdown. On the ground, receiving, on kick returns and in as backup quarterback, Noah Niblett accounted for 259 all-purpose yards.

“We had a way better week in practice than anytime and that week of practice completely transferred over. Our offense was completely better than any other game we’ve had,” said Noah Niblett. “We all just played and we got the ball to a lot of people. When we were up, we put in players who don’t get that much playing time. And offense was good overall the whole game.”

Marshfield opened its scoring account on the day when Montiel found an uncovered Ezra Waterman in the middle field for a 44-yard score. Waterman finished with four catches for 157 yards and two touchdowns.

Montiel, who was relieved of his quarterback duties in the third quarter, finished 14-of-19 for 332 yards and three touchdowns. He was not sacked.

With a five-score lead, Marshfield transitioned backup players into the game. With the change, the Lions showed signs of life scoring three touchdowns in the final six minutes of the first half. Capitalizing on big plays, running back Daetrayl Berry put the team on the board with a 42-yard run.

But leading the way for the Cottage Grove offense was receiver Jacob Dunn. The only player on the roster for the Lions that played against Marshfield in the 2017 state championship game, Dunn was all over the field. The Lions had 15 receptions and Dunn pulled down 14 of them, facing double teams in multiple situations. He finished with 197 yards receiving and three touchdowns.

“Everyone has got to play their best and give it all for the seniors’ last year. It’s been a tough season so far so we just have to play our hearts out pretty much,” said Dunn.

The Pirates continued to score in the second half, at times, seemingly on accident. A field-goal attempt on first and goal turned into a six points off of a bobbled snap, a bubble screen turned into 60 yards and a pair of interceptions gave Marshfield more opportunities.

Capitalizing on the chance at playing time was Marshfield’s Sam Grayson who had a 65-yard receiving touchdown. Backup running back Aaron Hutchins added seven carries for 46 yards.

“We executed and I thought we did some really good things,” said Lemmons. “Our theme of the week was to be disciplined and we got better, not perfect, but we made an improvement.”

Now Marshfield’s attention turns to next Saturday’s 6 p.m. non-league home game against Ontario (0-4). Preparation for the Tigers took a turn this week after Ontario’s head coach Tony Cade abruptly stepped away from the program on Thursday before the team’s homecoming game on Friday night.

While the Tigers are at the forefront of Marshfield’s mind, the Pirates are still looking longterm at the possibility of a league championship being decided in the final home game of the season.

“It’s really important, really big (to win our first league game),” said Lemmons on Friday night. “We’ve got a goal to play Marist for a league title so we’re one step closer.”

Coming Soon: Get in the game with our Prep Sports Newsletter

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Reporter Zachary Silva can be reached at 541-266-6036 or by email at zachary.silva@theworldlink.com.

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