CONRAD - Gladbrook-Reinbeck's 4-4 defense is designed to limit the big play.
If opponents?are going to score, they'll have to grind out each and?every yard.
Though like?the Rebels' ground-and-pound attack, sometimes that physicality and discipline can wear on an opponent to create something larger.
G-R's defense followed that cue Friday, forcing five turnovers to give its overpowering offense a boost in a 42-6 rout over BCLUW in Class A District 4 play.
"A 4-4 defense is not necessarily designed for huge plays, it's designed to make them earn everything they get," said G-R coach John Olson. "If they're starting from the 20, they're going to have to run 15 plays to get a touchdown. ... We're going to make them earn everything they get and then our offense is going to take control."
Class A's leading rusher Chase Clark rumbled for 223 yards and two touchdowns on 30 carries as Gladbrook-Reinbeck (3-2, 2-0) scored 35 unanswered points to run away from the Comets (1-3, 0-1).
"The offensive line did a great job of opening up the holes for me," said Clark. "They got me going and then the defense came up with some huge plays."
After a fumble on their own 37 to open the game, the Rebels forced a three-and-out before the offense got rolling. A 21-yard pass from Cam Kickbush to Colton Dinsdale and a 32-yard run by Clark set up a 4-yard score up the middle for Pete Meyers late in the first.
The Comets countered with a 38-yard strike from Conner Ubben to Taylor Sams, though the momentum was short-lived. A high snap derailed the Comet's extra point conversion and Dustin Dinsdale sparked the ensuing drive with a 55-yard sprint. Four plays later, Clark bounced outside after being momentarily contained in the middle to tack on a one-yard touchdown.
"He's a powerful, long guy," BCLUW coach Jess VanderWeerdt said of Clark. "Every run he has where there's contact, add two yards if he falls forward at all.
"He's not Colin Kaepernick but it kind of reminds me of that - long strider and all of a sudden he's gone and you don't really know where it came from. He runs so tall, but so strong too."
Another high snap halted BCLUW's next drive and Clark scored on a 9-yard sweep, set up by a 49-yard pass to Colton Dinsdale. Dinsdale hauled in eight catches for 166 yards, while Kickbush completed 10-of-14 passes for 186 yards, one touchdown and an interception.
Logan Flamme picked off Ubben on the next possession and G-R extended its ensuing drive with a running into the punter penalty against the Comets. Kickbush cashed in with a touchdown run from 4 yards out to stretch the margin to 28-6 with 1:05 left in the half.
It was more of the same for BCLUW throughout the second half.
The Comets moved down to the Rebels' 33, before Dustin Dinsdale stepped in front of an Ubben pass for his first of two picks and G-R forced turnovers on the Comets' next two possessions sandwiching a 16-yard scoring strike to Josh Cooley.
BCLUW forced its second takeaway with an interception by Lane Caster and advanced down to the Rebels' 2-yard line, though another errant snap and lost fumble ended the threat. Meyers punched in an 8-yard score to finish with two touchdowns on two carries. Clark eclipsed 200 yards for the third game in a row as the Rebels outrushed BCLUW 330-11.
Though Olson was quick to point out that the Rebels' success starts in the trenches.
"We got after the offensive line a bit and they stepped it up which makes those holes a lot bigger," said Olson.
"Chase is the type of player - if he gets a head of steam going - those 3 or 4 yards turn into 8. And those 8 yards turn into 20."
BCLUW came off a bye week after being shutout in its two previous games. Though they had just one touchdown on the board Friday, VanderWeerdt saw a much-improved team that hopes to turn the corner after a demanding early slate.
"We did a lot of things better than the last few weeks," VanderWeerdt said.
"Nothing is going to happen unless you make it happen. We have to finish our drives. When we get them in a 3rd-and-9 we need to get off the field. ... We just have to be a little bit better at our responsibilities."
Both teams have North Tama next on the schedule, though the Rebels get a bye week before traveling to Traer Oct. 4. The Comets face North Tama on the road Friday.