FAIRBANK — Friday was a miserable night for playoff football, and one when a couple of plays could be the difference between extending the season or packing away the gear until next season.
Two-time defending Class A champion Gladbrook-Reinbeck got one of those big breaks early in the game and the seventh-ranked Rebels (9-1) took advantage on the way to a 14-0 victory over fourth-ranked and previously unbeaten Wapsie Valley.
The Warriors had G-R pinned on its 4-yard line when a tipped pass that could have been a pick six for Wapsie slipped through a defender’s hands. The Rebels then marched 96 yards for the only score of the first half.
“It would have been nice to get that interception down at their end, but we didn’t,” Warriors coach Tony Foster said. “They took advantage of their opportunities and we just could not get the ball in the end zone.
“We wanted to come out and run the ball and keep it away from them and we did that. We did not want to give up any big plays and we really didn’t, it just comes down to us not scoring. They kept their drives going and they deserve the win.”
Gladbrook-Reinbeck coach John Olson said his team did exactly what it needed to under the circumstances.
“I thought we played a pretty darn good game tonight,” Olson said. “It was a game we needed to play to win, and our offensive line controlled the game. My hat’s off to our guys and offensive coach Darren Trunck for running such a great game plan. We have not done that this year and Gage (Murty) did a heck of a job running through the line.”
Murty was fed the ball seven times on an 80-yard second-half drive, taking it in from the 3-yard line to make it 14-0.
“I think this was the hardest game we played all year, but was also our best,” Murty said. “It is always important to score first, but we began to run with power in the second half and it worked.
“I honestly didn’t know that I scored on that play, but I heard the crowd and knew from that,” Murty added. “We knew from that point we needed to keep our focus and keep playing hard. They are too good to let them back in.”
The Rebels followed their second-half touchdown with a fumble recovery and eventually ran out the final 3:46 for the win.
“This team never gives in,” Olson said. “We have guys like Seth Gretillat that went out and played seven different positions tonight and did what he needed, as well as everyone on this team. We have so many guys like that on this team and that is what I really like about us.”
Glad.-Rein. 14, Wapsie Valley 0
Glad.-Rein. 0 6 0 8 — 14
Wapsie Valley 0 0 0 0 — 0
G-R—Matt Johannsen 8 pass from Hunter Lott (pass failed)
G-R—Gage Murty 3 run (Lott pass from Walker Thede)
First downs 13 17
Rushes-yards 34-127 45-204
Passing yards 135 78
Comp-att-int. 10-16-0 8-17-0
Return yards 66 28
Punts-avg. 3-40.3 3-27.7
Fumbles-lost 1-0 2-2
Penalties-yards 1-5 3-15
GLADBROOK-REINBECK — Hunter Lott 10-15, Walker Thede 5-50, Gage Murty 16-60, Keagan Giesking 1-3, Matt Johannsen 2-minus 1.
WAPSIE VALLEY — Tanner Sauerbrei 5-23, Colin Schrader 19-77, Jake Kuhlman 21-104.
GLADBROOK-REINBECK — Lott 10-16-0, 135 yards.
WAPSIE VALLEY — Sauerbrei 8-17-0, 78 yards.
GLADBROOK-REINBECK — Thede 3-19, Matt Johannsen 5-45, Murty 1-10, Giesking 1-14.
WAPSIE VALLEY — Ben Erhardt 4-45, Austin Wittenburg 2-21, Rundquist 1-5, Kuhlman 1-7.