Rebels cast out Blue Devils
Giesking rushes for 302 yards, 5 touchdowns
GLADBROOK — Three years into its move to 8-Man football, the Gladbrook-Reinbeck football team finally earned its first non-district victory.
The seventh-ranked Rebels ran over, around and through West Central on Friday night in the opening round of the state playoffs, pummeling the Blue Devils 62-6 in the program’s first postseason win in the smallest class of football.
It also marked the first non-district victory for a Gladbrook-Reinbeck program that has posted a 54-2 mark in district play in the last eight seasons, including a 21-0 start to divisional play in 8-man football.
The Rebels (8-0) were 0-for-6 against non-district opponents prior to Friday’s first-round triumph, losing each previous out-of-division contest to a ranked 8-man team the past two seasons. And now Gladbrook-Reinbeck gets a shot at another non-district triumph, but against a district opponent. Baxter (4-4) knocked off Iowa Valley, 64-20, on Friday night in Marengo to earn a trip to “The Pit” in Gladbrook on Oct. 23 in the second round of the playoffs.
G-R beat the Bolts 62-28 in their first meeting this season in Baxter after outscoring the hosts 40-0 in the second half.
“Historically I think we’re a better second-half team in general,” Rebels head coach John Olson said. “In 8-man, as a coaching staff, we’re still learning some things.”
Gladbrook-Reinbeck didn’t have to make any adjustments at the break against West Central after taking a 40-0 advantage into halftime. G-R quarterback Keagan Giesking scored four of his five rushing touchdowns in the first half and threw for another as the Rebels pushed through the first round of the playoffs.
Giesking finished with 20 carries for 302 yards and five scores, averaging 15.1 yards per carry to propel the Rebels to 389 yards rushing and 439 yards of total offense. He also had four tackles on defense in helping G-R hold West Central to just 246 yards of offense. The Blue Devils didn’t reach the end zone until there were 93 seconds left in the game.
“It was very important to play with a lot of effort tonight,” said Giesking, “to make sure we came out to a strong lead to begin with and to make sure we run our plays effectively.”
Mission accomplished. The Rebels averaged more than 11.1 yards per carry for the game, sparked by Giesking’s touchdown runs of 17, 3, 16, 51 and 19 yards. He also completed his only pass attempt, connecting with Caleb Egesdal for a 36-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter.
“We try for 2 or 3 yards and eventually that turns into 8 and eventually that turns into 50,” Olson said. “We did that against Collins-Maxwell, we did that against BGM, where it’s not real exciting at some point in times, but eventually you pop it loose. And Keagan has been throwing the ball real well, he has been in practice, and he has more confidence. He’s been a rollercoaster with throwing the ball and he’ll tell you that, but he has more confidence now and he throws the ball pretty well.”
Instead, Giesking ran for his third 300-yard game of the season, each of them piling up at least five touchdown runs along the way. He ran for a season-high 324 yards and seven touchdowns in the Week 5 win over Baxter.
“It makes it a lot easier when our offensive line is dominating like that,” Giesking said about Friday’s win, “when we can run [the ball] and then you get 1-on-1 with a receiver and the defensive back is looking in at the run, [the pass] is just wide open most of the time.”
The Rebels also took advantage of four takeaways on defense in nearly pitching a shutout. Luke Riffey intercepted a pass and G-R recovered three fumbles en route to its fourth game allowing eight points or fewer.
“The best thing is the next team we play is Baxter and they’re a huge challenge, their offense is dynamic, it’s awesome, and we take that challenge big-time,” Olson said.
Gladbrook-Reinbeck 62, West Central 6
WC 0 0 0 6 — 6
G-R 24 16 14 8 — 62
G-R — Keagan Giesking 17 run (Drake Blakesley run), 11:32.
G-R — Giesking 3 run (Rylan Van Daele run), 8:40.
G-R — Caleb Egesdal 36 pass from Giesking (Giesking run), 1:49.
G-R — Giesking 16 run (Giesking run), 6:31.
G-R — Giesking 51 run (Egesdal pass from Isaac Clark), 2:13.
G-R — Giesking 19 run (run failed), 10:13.
G-R — Blakesley 10 run (Clark run), 2:56.
G-R — Luke Riffey 1 run (Van Daele run), 9:05.
WC — Creighton Houge 3 run (kick failed), 1:33.
First downs 8 19
Rushes-yards 33-137 35-389
Passing yards 109 50
Comp-Att-Int 5-21-1 2-2-0
Total offense 54-246 37-439
Fumbles-lost 4-3 1-1
Penalties-yards 3-30 7-55
Time of Poss. 28:57 19:02
RUSHING — WC: Hunter Kent-Thomas 14-69, Brandon Cushion 6-46, Anthony Martin 6-10, Houge 2-8, Tayton Molyneux 4-4, Nathan Dolf 1-0; G-R: Giesking 20-302, Clark 6-48, Blakesley 2-38, Riffey 4-14, Van Daele 3-(minus-13).
PASSING — WC: Molyneux 3-7-98-1, Dolf 2-13-11-0, Martin 0-1-0-0; G-R: Giesking 1-1-36-0, Clark 1-1-14-0.
RECEIVING — WC: Aidan Nelson 3-92, Houge 1-7; G-R: Egesdal 1-36, Ethan Gienger 1-14.