Rebels’ unbeaten run dashed by Don Bosco

Gladbrook-Reinbeck quarterback Isaac Clark finds a seam to run against Don Bosco during Friday’s 8-Man District 5 football game in Gladbrook. Don Bosco knocked off the No. 6 Rebels, 42-36. Photo by Noah Rohlfing

Gladbrook-Reinbeck head coach Jon Olson lives for football games like Friday night’s home battle with Don Bosco. The 8-Man No. 6 Rebels (6-1, 4-1 District 5) may not have been on the right side of the scoreline, falling to the Dons 42-36 (5-2, 5-0) and taking their first loss of the season, but the defeat didn’t stop Olson’s positivity.

“Man, wasn’t that an awesome football game?” Olson said. “That’s a high-energy game. It was close the whole game. They spread it out on us, not formation wise but got the score a little bit up, but we stopped making mistakes and we earned those touchdowns.”

“We know we can hang with some of the best teams. I didn’t know that last week, I didn’t know that last year.”

G-R took an immediate lead on the first play from scrimmage, as sophomore Isaac Clark connected on a deep pass to Caleb Egesdal for a 57-yard touchdown pass. The two-point attempt was converted, and the Rebels held an early 8-0 lead.

After forcing the Dons into a punt, a mistake on offense tied the game up. On third and 10-plus from its own five-yard line, Clark threw to the inside against a defensive scheme the Rebels hadn’t seen yet. The result was a pick-six to even the scores at 8-8. After the game, Olson blamed himself for the mistake and said it wasn’t Clark’s fault.

Clark played nearly every snap for the Rebels Friday night in a departure from their usual rotation between Clark and freshman Drew Eilers. Olson said Clark’s athleticism and ability to escape the pocket played a factor in the change in tactic.

A touchdown from Cade Tenold put Don Bosco in front 14-8, but Clark found Ethan Gienger for a 51 yard score to tie things up with three minutes left in the first quarter. Gienger caught two touchdown passes and had five receptions for 90 yards.

An interception by Egesdal was put to use immediately with a 25-yard touchdown run by Luke Riffey, putting G-R up 22-14 at the end of the first.

The second quarter was all Don Bosco. Myles McMahon ran for an 11-yard score midway through the quarter to trim the gap to 22-20, Tenold took off for 50 yards and gave the Dons a 28-22 lead and with 35 seconds left in the first half, Ty Purdy threw to Tenold for another score. All of the sudden it was 36-22 Don Bosco at halftime.

The score remained heading into the fourth quarter, as both teams traded punts and G-R stopped Don Bosco twice on fourth down.

The second play of the fourth quarter was a 66-yard score from Tenold, who carried the ball 23 times for 295 yards and three scores. Don Bosco ran for 383 yards against a strong G-R defense, something Olson said was just down to mistakes and the Dons being a high-caliber team.

“We had a couple of gap integrity issues,” Olson said. “[Tenold] is really, really good, and so you make that mistake and things happen.”

The Dons outgained G-R 430-239.

G-R crept back into the game with a trick play pass from Michael Boyd to Luke Riffey for a 29-yard score to make it 42-30 and a late pass from Clark to Gienger. Clark had 155 yards passing and three touchdowns. Don Bosco recovered the final onside kick to end the game and take control of the district.

Up next for the Rebels is a home game against Collins-Maxwell in their regular-season finale.