Rebels clocked by River Hawks, 55-6 Easton Valley vaults past host Gladbrook-Reinbeck Ross Thede T-R Sports Editor firstname.lastname@example.org
GLADBROOK — The competition Gladbrook-Reinbeck faces in non-district play has more than made up for the lack of resistance the Rebel football team has received in district action. In Friday’s 8-Man state football playoff opener, the unfortunate pattern persisted. Sixth-seeded Easton Valley used a no-huddle offense to unravel the Rebels’ typically stingy defense and delivered a 55-6 setback to 10th-seeded Gladbrook-Reinbeck in Friday’s first round. Senior quarterback Nate Trenkamp threw for 276 yards and four touchdowns as the River Hawks (9-1) rolled past the Rebels (7-3) with relative ease, finding the end zone on seven of their 10 possessions. “They don’t have just one guy that can really fly around, it’s all their players,” said G-R head coach John Olson. “They’re a well-coached team with five or six guys with 400 yards receiving, they run the ball, they’re a well-rounded team, their defense is really fast, they’re well-coached on defense. We knew it was going to be a tough battle.” Easton Valley racked up 474 yards of total offense while limiting Gladbrook-Reinbeck to just 150 yards and six first downs. The Rebels averaged just 3.26 yards per play and didn’t get on the scoreboard until Eli Thede broke the big play G-R had been waiting all night for. Thede got the blocking he needed to slip around the right end for a 71-yard touchdown run that was barely a speed bump in Easton Valley’s victory. The River Hawks led 41-6 after Thede’s sprint to the end zone finally got the Rebels on the board late in the third quarter. “We’re one-dimensional,” Olson shrugged. “We can run, that’s pretty much what we can do, and we struggled a little bit there. We were close on some plays but when it came down to it, they had some pretty good players on that side of the ball. “They’re a really good football team.” That’s all the Rebels have seen outside of 8-Man District 5 play since coming down from 11-man football starting in the 2018 campaign. Gladbrook-Reinbeck has won all 14 of its district games by an average of 53 points, but is 0-6 in games outside its league and by an average defeat of 42.5 points. All six losses are to ranked teams: Don Bosco twice, Turkey Valley twice, New London and now Easton Valley. Friday’s first-round pairing was eerily similar to last year’s early exit for the Rebels, who were dropped 60-12 by eventual state champion New London. “I looked at the scoreboard and I felt like Easton Valley was really taking it to us but it was 7-0,” Olson said. “It felt like they had three or four drives and we had one, but we were one play away from making something happen. That’s similar to New London last year in that we kind of kept things going, hanging around, you’re almost there.” And then they weren’t. Trenkamp connected with three different receivers for first-quarter touchdowns and then the River Hawks got a scoring boost from their defense when Kolton Murphy picked off a Cullen Eiffler pass and returned it 26 yards to paydirt. Trenkamp’s second touchdown pass to Braydin Farrell gave Easton Valley a 34-0 lead going into halftime, while Gladbrook-Reinbeck had only crossed midfield once. “Their timing offense in the passing game was just really good, and we knew that, so we tried to slow them down a bit and we did that,” Olson said. “It would have been really hard to get in the game with them but we needed it to be a 35-28 game. “I think we prepared pretty well, it just comes down to their coaching staff is really good and they have solid players.” The Rebels’ rushing attack was hindered by the River Hawks’ size up front and the speed in the defensive backfield. G-R junior back Keagan Giesking entered the playoff game with 1,347 yards rushing and 21 touchdowns but was held in check all night, finishing with 25 carries for 53 yards. Thede topped the team with his four carries for 68 yards, while Eiffler added 31 yards on eight attempts. The Rebels completed just two passes, too, for 5 yards. “When we saw the matchup, [Easton Valley] wasn’t our first pick,” Olson admitted. “These guys were probably more physical than we thought on film, but you know when they play Turkey Valley to 72-62 they have to be pretty physical to hang with those guys.” The two teams’ only common opponent was No. 2 Turkey Valley, who defeated the Rebels 48-14 way back in Week 2 — the last time Gladbrook-Reinbeck trailed on the scoreboard. “I think it’s a good thing that I didn’t notice any reaction to that because we constantly tell them ‘don’t look at the scoreboard and just play.’ But I think they knew after the first couple drives that it was going to be tough.” Farrell led the River Hawks with 67 yards rushing to go with five catches for 60 yards and a total of four touchdowns. Trenkamp ended 20-for-33 passing for 276 yards with no interceptions, while Cade Jargo made eight catches for 120 yards to surpass 1,000 for the season. Logan House, Easton Valley’s 6-foot-5, 240-pound tight end, added six catches for 87 yards and a touchdown. The Rebels, dealt their most lopsided loss in two seasons of 8-Man play and the worst defeat since a 50-0 loss at North Tama in 2000, graduate 10 seniors from their roster. Easton Valley advances to face top-seeded Don Bosco (10-0) next Friday in Gilbertville after the Dons defeated New London 72-12.
Easton Valley 55, Gladbrook-Reinbeck 6 At Gladbrook EASTON 20 14 7 14 — 55 G-R 0 0 6 0 — 6
First Quarter EV — Logan House 16 pass from Nate Trenkamp (Reid Hinerichsen kick), 9:00. EV — Braydin Farrell 16 pass from Trenkamp (Hinerichsen kick), 2:25. EV — Cade Jargo 7 pass from Trenkamp (kick failed), :36.
Second Quarter EV — Kolton Murphy 26 interception return (Hinerichsen kick), 10:20. EV — Farrell 23 pass from Trenkamp (Hinerichsen kick), 6:40.
Third Quarter EV — Farrell 9 run (Hinerichsen kick), 10:43. G-R — Eli Thede 71 run (pass failed), 2:04.
Fourth Quarter EV — Murphy 5 run (Hinerichsen kick), 11:53. EV — Farrell 13 run (Hinerichsen kick), 4:54.
TEAM STATISTICS EV G-R First downs 28 6 Rushes-yards 29-198 38-145 Passing yards 276 5 Comp-Att-Int 20-33-0 2-8-1 Total offense 474 150 Fumbles-lost 1-0 1-1 Penalties-yards 9-85 2-10 Punts-avg 1-43 5-37.2 INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS RUSHING — EV: Farrell 11-67, Murphy 9-57, Trenkamp 5-42, Jargo 3-27, Porter Fuegen 1-5; G-R: Thede 4-68, Keagan Giesking 25-53, Cullen Eiffler 8-31, Aidan Wyatt 1-(minus-7). PASSING — EV: Trenkamp 20-33-276-0; G-R: Giesking 1-1-5-0, Eiffler 1-7-0-1. RECEIVING — EV: Jargo 8-120, House 6-87, Farrell 5-60, Fuegen 1-9; G-R: Eiffler 1-5, Thede 1-0.