Rebels strike fast, sail away from Columbus

Top-ranked Grundy Center/Gladbrook-Reinbeck advances to Thursday’s Class 1A semifinals

T-R PHOTO BY JAKE RYDER - Grundy Center/Gladbrook-Reinbeck junior forward Isaac Clark (11) leaps for a header in front of Waterloo Columbus defenders (from left) Khen Tee, Vincent Pranger and Gavin Reed during the first half of Tuesday’s Class 1A state boys’ soccer quarterfinal match at Cownie Soccer Complex in Des Moines. The top-ranked Rebels beat the ninth-rated Sailors to advance to Thursday’s semifinals.

DES MOINES — Grundy Center/Gladbrook-Reinbeck boys soccer didn’t waste time in putting up numbers at the state tournament.

The Rebels scored before the timekeeper could even remember to start the scoreboard clock, sending GC/G-R on its way to a 4-0 victory over Waterloo Columbus in a Class 1A state quarterfinal at the Cownie Soccer Complex on Tuesday morning.

GC/G-R (19-0) advances to the semifinals to take on Des Moines Christian (12-4) at 10 a.m. on Thursday back in Des Moines.

“It’s a great feeling to be one game away from that championship game,” said GC/G-R senior Aiden Hunemuller, one of the team’s captains. “We’ll get a practice in tomorrow and hopefully be ready on Thursday to make it there.”

Within the first minute, a Tyler Nolder throw-in landed in traffic in front of the Columbus net. What followed depends on what source you look at: Some in the crowd saw a Columbus own goal, the Iowa High School Athletic Association recognizes it as an Isaac Clark goal, and it’s recorded on statkeeping website Bound as a Hunemuller goal.

T-R PHOTO BY JAKE RYDER - From left, Grundy Center/Gladbrook-Reinbeck’s Isaac Clark, Tyler Nolder, Aiden Hunemuller (obscured) and Hudson Clark celebrate the Rebels’ go-ahead goal in the opening moments of Tuesday’s state quarterfinal soccer match against Waterloo Columbus in Des Moines.

No matter how you slice it, it was a quick lead for the top-ranked Rebels.

“I was just as shocked as everyone else,” GC/G-R head coach Jon Dinsdale said. “But it’s nice to have that early 1-0 lead right out of the chute there.”

The Sailors nearly put in an equalizer moments later, but were denied on one of their few opportunities in the first half before Aiden Hunemuller blasted a shot past the Sailor keeper in the 36th minute for a 2-0 Rebel lead at halftime.

“It just came off the foot great,” Hunemuller said. “Had a great touch and got it out in front of me.”

GC/G-R’s defense continued to perform admirably in the second half, locking down its 14th shutout victory of the season as the Rebels added insurance goals from Nolder and Clark in the 67th and 68th minute.

T-R PHOTO BY JAKE RYDER - Grundy Center/Gladbrook-Reinbeck’s Aiden Hunemuller (9) tries to redirect a header past Waterloo Columbus goalkeeper Emerson Hahn and defenders Gavin Reed (5) and Ebenezer Kwofie (12) during a Class 1A state quarterfinal soccer game on Tuesday at Cownie Soccer Complex in Des Moines.

It’s GC/G-R’s third win against the Sailors this season after beating them 4-1 on April 3 and 5-0 on May 9.

“We’d beat them twice, so we knew what they had, but they knew what we had, so we had to be ready for that,” Clark said. “If you just communicate with each other, everything goes well.”

Clark felt energized bouncing back from what he felt was a letdown of a first half from his perspective. With credit for the goal at the beginning of the game, Clark now has 27 goals this season — Nolder’s state-leading assist total also got a boost, with three assists bumping him up to 44 for the season.

“I started really slow in the beginning, didn’t get the shots I wanted to,” Clark said. “Getting that goal felt good to get the finishing touch on the game.”

Three of Des Moines Christian’s four losses came to schools in larger classes, including a 3-0 loss to Class 2A state qualifier Gilbert.

The winner of Thursday’s semifinal will take on either Iowa City Regina or Western Christian in Saturday’s championship game.

“I’ve got great captains that have gotten the guys ready to go,” Dinsdale said. “We have the athletes, we have the players to do what we need to do, and I’m a coach that studies a lot of other teams, so I know enough [about DMC]. We’re gonna give everything we’ve got and make sure we’re ready to go on Thursday.”


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