Zoomin’ by ’Zuma

Gladbrook-Reinbeck blanks Montezuma to reach UNI-Dome again

T-R PHOTO BY ROSS THEDE • Gladbrook-Reinbeck’s Erik Knaack (11) eludes Montezuma defender Zach Henry on his way to scoring an 18-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter. The Rebels won 35-0 and advanced to the UNI-Dome for the third-straight year.

T-R PHOTO BY ROSS THEDE • Gladbrook-Reinbeck’s Erik Knaack (11) eludes Montezuma defender Zach Henry on his way to scoring an 18-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter. The Rebels won 35-0 and advanced to the UNI-Dome for the third-straight year.

GLADBROOK — The Rebels don’t talk about last year. They haven’t all season and they won’t start now.

The Class A No. 2 Rebels (11-0) are headed back to the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls for the third-straight year after a 35-0 shutout win against No. 8 Montezuma on Friday night at home. Head coach John Olson said it’s not because the Rebels aren’t proud of what they accomplished last year — a 52-20 state title win against Akron-Westfield — but because it’s a new set of players vying for the same honors.

“We haven’t really thought about it and we hardly ever talk about last year,” Olson said. “But we’ve got eight new starters on this team, on both sides of the ball. It’s a new team, a different offense and a similar defense. I mean, we do the same thing for the last 16 years on defense for the most part, but our offense really stepped it up tonight.”

As always, the Rebels defense was a stout as could be. Thomas Mussig recorded 5.5 total tackles, with a half for a loss. Mason Skovgard had one tackle for a loss and four total tackles, two on his own.

The 35-0 final was the fourth shutout this season by the Gladbrook-Reinbeck defense. But Olson gave a great portion of the credit to offensive coordinator Darren Trunck, who navigated the Rebels’ offense for five touchdowns Friday night.

“Our offense really stepped up tonight, and that’s what it needed to do to get that physical mentality,” Olson said. “We know who we are on 3rd and 3, but Darren Trunck did an awesome job with the guys on offense, for sure. He needs a lot of credit for that. I’m proud of him and he’s been around long enough to know what’s going on. He did a heck of a job with the offense.”

The Rebels found the end zone quite easily on all five of their touchdowns Friday night. Despite a stalemate of a first quarter, Parker Bown found the end zone on the first play of the second quarter on a 40-yard dash. And again, Bown found pay dirt on an 18-yard sprint to put the Rebels up 14-0 with just more than seven minutes remaining in the second half.

However, it was the 43-yard touchdown by Gage Murty with 2:33 remaining in the first half that put the Rebels up 21-0 and gave Olson a moment to take a breath and refocus.

“When it was 14-0, I wasn’t sure if we just got a couple big plays,” Olson said. “When it was 21-0, I thought we’re physical enough, we’re going to get this taken care of. They’re such a good football team on that side of the ball, a counter here or there, a screen here or there, a quarterback draw and they’re right back in it.

“So on our part, I wasn’t really comfortable until it was 28-0. At that time, it gets to be a little different.”

Once Hunter Lott barreled his way in late in the third quarter to gain continuous clock and a 35-0 lead, Olson said that kind of achievement will stick out to a team that will play the No. 1 team in the state next Friday.

Lott was 13-for-18 with 145 yards and two touchdowns, while also scrambling 10 times for 56 yards and another score. Bown led the way for the Rebels with 19 carries for 144 yard and his two scores.

Murty led all receivers with three catches for 63 yards and a touchdown, while senior Erik Knaack had four catches for 45 yards and a score.

Knaack made his presence felt on an 18-yard catch from Lott to go up 28-0. The senior wide receiver/defensive back wasn’t shy about feeling nervous before the Rebels’ matchup with the Braves (8-3).

“I was really nervous coming into this game,” Knaack said. “The community was asking if we were going to win and I know the community really wanted us to win. So I’m really happy we’re getting back.”

Knaack’s nerves didn’t show as he made a gutsy but efficient call to jump a receiver’s route and intercept Logan Price’s pass for the only turnover of the game.

“I saw the guy do a flare route and the other guy came in and did a little pick,” Knaack said. “And I jumped the block and was able to get there, otherwise he probably would’ve caught that.”

There is no shortage in want or passion for another state title, but the path won’t be easy for the undefeated Rebels.

Like them, the three other undefeated Class A teams all advanced Friday night, making it perfect run of the No. 1, 2, 3 and 4 teams in the state, in the semifinal rounds at the UNI-Dome.

With the Rebels and Saints (11-0) going head to head Friday morning, the No. 3 Council Bluffs St. Albert football team will follow them with a match against No. 4 Bishop Garrigan in the afternoon.

“It’s really special to get back to the Dome,” Knaack said. “Even with our numbers down, we’re still finding a way to do it all. I’m really proud of the team and I’m really proud of the coaching staff. We’re just trying to build what we can build with what we’ve got.”

The Rebels will play the Saints at 10:06 a.m. Friday at the UNI-Dome. The winner will move on to the Class A state title game.

———-

No. 2 Gladbrook-Reinbeck 35, No. 8 Montezuma 0

Scoring Summary

MNT, 0  , 0   , 0   , 0, –, 0

G-R , 0   , 21 , 14   , 0, —  , 35

First Quarter

No scoring.

Second Quarter

G-R — Parker Bown 40 run (Walker Thede kick), 11:50.

G-R — Bown 18 run (Thede kick), 7:11.

G-R — Gage Murty 43 pass from Hunter Lott (Thede kick), 2:33.

Third Quarter

G-R — Erik Knaack 18 pass from Lott (Thede kick), 7:44.

G-R — Lott 8 run (Thede kick), 6:07.

Fourth Quarter

No scoring.

TEAM STATISTICS

, MNT, G-R

First Downs, 5, 22

Rushes-yards, 22-56  , 45-261

Comp-Att-Int    , 8-16-1   , 13-18-0

Passing Yards    , 57    , 145

Total offense    , 113    , 406

Fumbles-lost    , 0-0    , 0-0

Penalties-yards    , 2-15    , 2-20

INDIVIDUAL LEADERS

RUSHING — MNT: Carson Losure 7-37, Logan Price 10-9, Jordon Bender 2-6, Jaedon Probasco 2-2, Shane Helm 1-2; G-R: Parker Bown 19-144, Hunter Lott 10-56, Gage Murty 3-24, Josh Peterson 10-21, Dmitriy Strohbehn 1-10, Erik Knaack 16, Walker Thede 1-0.

PASSING — MNT: Price 8-16-57-1; G-R: Lott 13-18-145-0.

RECEIVING — MNT: Losure 5-29, Reece McCaslen 1-13, Zach Townsend 1-13, Shane Helm 1-2; G-R: Murty 3-63, Knaack 4-45, Matt Roeding 3-31, Thede 2-8, Matt Johannsen 1-(minus-2).