Rebels get revenge to reach Dome

Ninth-ranked G-R avenges loss to Clarksville 32-30

Gladbrook-Reinbeck senior quarterback Isaac Clark is lifted into the air by teammate Michael Boyd to celebrate a touchdown run by Clark during last week Thursday’s 8-Man state football quarterfinal game at Clarksville. The ninth-ranked Rebels avenged a regular-season loss to the fifth-ranked Indians, winning 32-20 to advance to the state semifinals. PHOTO BY JAKE RYDER

CLARKSVILLE – Gladbrook-Reinbeck football was ready for Round 2 with Clarksville.

The Rebels avenged their only loss of the regular season, stepping up to meet the physicality of the Indians and closing out a 32-20 triumph in a 1A state quarterfinal in Clarksville las Thursday night, Nov. 2.

G-R (10-1) made its first-ever UNI-Dome appearance in Cedar Falls as an 8-man program this week Wednesday (Nov. 8) in a semifinal with Bedford (11-0). The Rebels last went to the Dome in 2016, when they won back-to-back titles in Class A. (The Sun Courier will feature coverage of the Nov. 8 game in next week’s edition.)

“I saw those guys growing up, and I’ve just wanted this moment for my team,” said G-R senior quarterback Isaac Clark. “It’s going to be a great experience.”

Clark rushed 16 times for 153 yards and two touchdowns, and completed 15-of-20 passes for 179 yards and another touchdown through the air.

Gladbrook-Reinbeck’s Hudson Clark, with ball, dashes past Clarksville defender Dawson Barnett (60) for a touchdown run during last week Thursday’s 32-20 victory in the state football playoffs. PHOTO BY JAKE RYDER

His 44-yard touchdown scramble early in the second quarter was the last strike in a 20-point burst for the Rebels to start the game, giving the visitors an early advantage.

“Sometimes the plays aren’t there, but I know I can use my feet and make the play myself,” Clark said.

Eli Schmidt answered for the Indians, getting a head of steam to blow past G-R’s coverage for a 29-yard sprint down the Clarksville sideline.

G-R’s first punt of the game followed, but Michael Boyd, Hunter Roberts and the rest of the Rebel defense stuffed the Indians for a fourth-down stop near midfield, and Clark immediately took a shot to Hudson Clark for a 39-yard pitch-and-catch touchdown to stretch the lead back out to 26-6, which was the margin at halftime.

“I just think we’re a lot more physical than we were last time we faced them,” Isaac Clark said. “And we knew what we were getting into this time and we just played great on defense.”

Gladbrook-Reinbeck quarterback Isaac Clark, right, throws a pass over Clarksville’s Bodhi Ellerman (40) as Michael Boyd, left, blocks during last week Thursday’s playoff victory for the Rebels. PHOTO BY JAKE RYDER

Isaac said he takes ownership of his second-half kickoff, leaving it returnable for Schmidt who bolted back 75 yards for a quick Clarksville score that immediately put pressure on the Rebels to step up.

After the teams traded punts back and forth, the Rebels were able to make another key fourth-down stop with under three minutes to play in the third quarter.

Isaac Clark turned a near-sack into a 35-yard scramble to get down to the Clarksville 4, where Hudson Clark scored two plays later on a well-executed reverse to go up 18 points.

Schmidt answered again for the Indians with six minutes to play, but the Rebels bled the rest of the clock and the celebration was on.

“It’s special to bring this group to the Dome,” Olson said. “They’ve worked hard, they’re really easy to coach, and it makes it easier on us coaches when we’ve got a lot of fast kids that are tough and strong.”

After last year’s state quarterfinal disappointment, the goal for this year was clear — one more.

That doesn’t have to stop now, though.

“We’re not ready to be done,” said G-R senior Austin Gehring. “We can’t give up now. This is our first time here as 8-man, certainly not the last.”

Gehring also shouted out Rebel staff members Jake Schuman, Colton Dinsdale and Rhett Barnes, all three of whom were part of those 11-man title teams under Olson.

“They know how to win there, and we’re bringing them back,” Gehring said. “We’re just going to go out there and try our best to keep winning one more and one more.”