Rebels roll to 9-0

GLADBROOK – The Gladbrook-Reinbeck football team has played in the state championship game the past two years. Yet the Rebels did something Friday night previously never done before in school history.

With a 73-0 win against Colfax-Mingo in Class A District 5 play, the second-ranked Rebels capped the first undefeated regular season in Gladbrook-Reinbeck history.

“We talk about championships after they happen,” said G-R coach John Olson. “We’re not nave enough to think that you don’t want to think we can do something. At the beginning of the year, it literally is not something we set a goal out to do. I know I keep saying it all the time, but it’s just what we do.

“Coaching behind doors, of course you talk about those kind of things. We have to put ourselves in a position to get a championship. What this means to us is we’ve had a lot of good teams here for 16 years. To come in 9-0, there’s a lot of things that have to happen. You have to beat Grundy Center on a last-second play. You have to beat Dike-New Hartford through some adversity. You have to beat a Hudson team that is a heck of a good Hudson team. BGM can fly all over the place. Yeah, there are some teams in our district that are younger and inexperienced, but you know, we had to beat a lot of good teams to get there.”

The 73 points is also a new G-R record for most in a single game according to Olson. The scoring output was thanks in large part to all three phases of the game accounting for points. The Rebels (9-0, 7-0 District 5) returned two punts for touchdowns in the first half, and took back two interceptions in the third quarter for scores.

Walker Thede let a TigerHawk (1-8, 1-6 District 5) punt bounce on the ground before picking it up and returning it 71 yards for the touchdown to make it a 35-0 game in the second quarter. Erik Knaack also took a punt back 52 yards for a score right before halftime. In the third quarter, Knaack picked off C-M quarterback Reegan Van Dyke, and scampered 18 yards for the touchdown. Cael Wyatt intercepted Van Dyke a couple minutes later, and found his way into the end zone to put the Rebels up 73-0.

“We weren’t trying for that at all, we never really do,” Olson said, “but (73) points we’ve ever scored before.

“We weren’t trying to go for 70 points by any stretch of the imagination. We got it on two pick-sixes. When that happens, it’s pretty cool to do that. We have a lot of respect for the (TigerHawk) coaching staff.”

The Rebels scored early as well as often. Hunter Lott connected with Gage Murty on the third play of the game from scrimmage for a 51-yard score. After the ensuing kickoff bounced around on the ground, and the TigerHawks never tried to picked it up, the Rebels were in business from about 10 yards out that set up Parker Bown for a 3-yard scoring run.

Lott found Thede later in the opening quarter, and the junior wideout bobbed and weaved his way through the C-M defense for an 81-yard catch and run touchdown. To go with his punt and interception returns, Knaack also hauled in a 4-yard touchdown catch to give G-R a 28-0 lead.

Lott finished 4-of-5 passing for 142 yards and the three scores. Bown led the Rebels in rushing with 88 yards on eight carries and two scores. Josh Peterson also collected a rushing touchdown.

Now the attention of the Rebels turns to the postseason in pursuit of a return to the state title game for the third year in a row. While G-R doesn’t know as of Friday night who it’ll host in the first round of the playoffs this coming Friday, Olson welcomes the new format of playing on Friday rather than the following Wednesday as has been the case in years past.

“If anything, it’s a relief,” Olson said. “We’d already have the other team scouted by now.”

But before the Rebels can start scouting that next opponent, they’re going to take a little bit of time to enjoy what was just accomplished.

“I don’t even know who it’s going to be, and I don’t even care for right now. I want to enjoy this for a little bit,” Olson said.