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Rebels respond, ring victory bell after beating Grundy Center

Gladbrook-Reinbeck answers Spartans’ fourth-quarter score in 97th annual rivalry showdown

September 4, 2016
ADAM RING - Central Iowa Press , Reinbeck Courier

GLADBROOK - Opportunities abounded in the Battle for the Bell. It was just a matter of who was going to cash in on the chances at the right opportunity Friday night.

The Grundy Center and Gladbrook-Reinbeck football teams played to a stalemate through three quarters of the season opener. The two teams would exchange scores on back-to-back possessions. A blocked extra point ended up being the difference as G-R won the game 7-6 to retain the bell.

"Found out, can we run outside? Are we a power team?" G-R coach John Olson said. "We haven't found that out yet, but by playing a team like (Grundy Center), it looked ugly but that's a fairly clean game in the sense there weren't a lot of turnovers and stuff like that. We'll just go back to the drawing board to see what we are and how we're going to develop."

Article Photos

Gladbrook-Reinbeck tailback Parker Bown breaks off a 38-yard run in the second quarter against rival Grundy Center Friday night in Gladbrook. Bown rushed for 113 yards as G-R won 7-6.

Grundy Center (0-1) tailback Bryce Flater, who had been kept in check for most of the night, finally found the end zone from 10 yards out with a little more than eight minutes to play in the fourth quarter. Erik Knaack busted through the Spartan line on the extra-point attempt and blocked the kick.

Flater, Class A's leading rusher from a year ago, carried the Spartan workload, hauling the ball 37 times for 203 yards and the touchdown. A portion of his yards came on his touchdown run, and the run on the play before it. Flater, whose longest run up to that point in the fourth quarter had been 17 yards, ripped off a 51-yard gain to get the Spartans down to the 10-yard line.

"Flater is an awesome back, there's no doubt about that," Olson said. "But we don't scheme our defense against one player. We're never gonna, never have. Maybe we should. It's simple in the sense that it's going to be power. It's going to be toss. They ran trap a little bit. We're just going to stay with what our jobs and techniques, and what our defensive philosophy is. If he ends up being better than us or they handle us up front, more power to them.

"Once we start concentrating all of our attention on that guy, he's still going to get his yards. He's so stinking good."

G-R (1-0) responded quickly, scoring in about a minute-and-a-half after Grundy Center had scored. Hunter Lott, who had never thrown a pass in varsity competition before Friday night found Gage Murty about 10 yards down the field on a roll out, and Murty scampered in, through and around the Spartan defense the remaining 30 yards and into the end zone to complete the 40-yard touchdown pass to give the Rebels a 7-6 lead.

Grundy Center went three-and-out on its next possession, and with just under five minutes to play, the Rebels were able to run about 3 1/2 minutes off the clock. The Spartans got the ball back with 1:33 to play and no timeouts, but failed to garner more than a first down.

The Spartans had a chance to break the scoreless tie late in the second quarter when Flater got the ball down to the one-yard line, but Flater was assessed an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty following the play, and that moved the ball back to the 16-yard line. The Spartans would make up the ground they lost, but faced a 4th and goal from the 6. Grundy Center called a Flater run up the middle, but the Rebels stopped him mere inches short of the goal line, forcing the Spartans to come up empty on a drive that lasted nearly eight minutes.

"To be honest, we should be upset. We left probably left 14 points out there on the field," said Grundy Center coach Brent Thoren. "The ball is down here, and we get a personal foul called. We were going into score right there. That's the difference in the game right there unfortunately. We have to do a better job of controlling our emotions. We should be upset because we left a lot of plays out on the field. They're probably saying the same thing. I felt our team played well enough to win, but it just didn't work out for us tonight."

The Spartans also missed a 38-yard field goal attempt on the second drive off the game that kept points off the scoreboard. The Rebels turned the ball over twice on the night, throwing an interception on their first drive of the contest, and dropping a fumble halfway through the third quarter. G-R also turned the ball over on downs on its second possession of the night.

Parker Bown, taking over duties for the graduated Eric Stoakes in the Rebel backfield, finished the night with 113 yards on 15 carries. Lott finished 5-of-8 passing for 66 yards with the touchdown and pick. Jake Bangasser was 6-of-10 passing for 45 yards for the Spartans.


The Rebels now hold a 45-43-9 edge in the Battle for the Bell. G-R has won the rivalry meeting four years in a row now. Friday's one-point victory was the smallest margin of victory in the history between the Rebels and Spartans. Before Friday night, the smallest margin win had been two points when G-R won 14-12 in 1993. The two schools last tied in the series when the 1968 meeting finished 7-7.

Gladbrook-Reinbeck travels to Dike-New Hartford in week two. Grundy Center hosts South Hardin.



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