Freeman running backs present formidable challenge

SPOKESMAN-REVIEWDecember 3, 2013 

For the Freeman football team, the M&M running back tandem has been a delicious treat this season.

Senior Max Laib and junior Markus Goldbach have not only each rushed for more than 1,000 yards, they're a reflection of how balanced the Scotties' offense has been. Laib has a 63-yard lead with a team-best 1,389 yards. Goldbach has 1,326.

They've also been pretty balanced getting the end zone - Goldbach has 23 touchdowns, while Laib has 21.

Tasty statistics to say the least.

"I don't ever remember any team I've been around having two 1,300-yard rushers," Freeman coach Jim Wood said. "The nice part is you can totally change up the pace of the game."

Most of the time, Freeman executes out of a two-back set with Laib at tailback and Goldbach at fullback. Next year Goldbach is likely to man the tail.

Mount Baker will be the next team to attempt limiting the duo, as the two teams will play for the Class 1A state title at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 7, at the Tacoma Dome. Like the Mountaineers, who are making their debut in the championship game, the Scotties seek their first state title.

"If I don't have the ball, Markus is going to have the ball," Laib said. "And we're both going to punish you."

They're equally confident in their abilities, but they each acknowledge it goes beyond what they do.

"The productivity of our offense is due to our offensive line," Goldbach said. "They're big and talented."

Jordan Rose is at left tackle, Dasheill Wyatt at left guard, Peyton Smetana at center and Connor McVay and Ian Johnston share right tackle.

"We wouldn't have the yards without them," Goldbach said.

Laib detailed how it works from the snap.

"The line opens up the first level and Markus takes care of the blockers at the second level," Laib said. "Then I get to dance my way around the safeties."

Laib is 5-foot-8 and 175 pounds. He's the shifty runner.

Goldbach is 6-0 and 190. He's the power runner.

"Max sets up his blocks real well," Wood said. "He waits for things to happen and can make people miss. He's just a touch faster than Marcus but they're pretty close in speed.

"Markus is the power. He's a downhill runner. He breaks tackles and runs through people."

They're also two-way starters. They both man safety positions on defense.

Wood thought the tandem could be productive. But he's been pleasantly surprised by what has played out.

"I knew that we could do some things with both of them," Wood said. "But I didn't dream that would be where they're at. Holy cow."

Laib enjoys watching Goldbach run.

"He's not the best juker, but he'll go through you," Laib said. "He does a good job of keeping his speed."

The respect goes both ways.

"He has very good lateral movement all around," Goldbach said of Laib. "He's very athletic, quick and elusive."

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