SERGEANT BLUFF - Michael Lawler's field goal with :50 left in the game and a stifling defensive effort carried Glenwood to a 9-7 come-from-behind season-opening victory at Sergeant Bluff-Luton on Friday.
“One of the kids' goals was to be up at halftime and we were down and I said, 'Well how important is that?’ I joked. We were ahead when it mattered,” said Glenwood coach Brian Albert after the game.
The way the game started, Glenwood looked to be the team who was going to be down a lot longer than halftime. The Warriors won the opening toss and chose to take the ball on offense. They needed just eight plays and 3:23 to march 82 yards for a 7-0 lead when quarterback Dakota Linafelter scrambled four yards for a score. Linafelter found Dillon Hiserote for a 56-yard hook up to set up the score.
After the teams traded punts on their next possession, Glenwood appeared to be moving the ball when quarterback Jon Williams’ slant pass was picked off by linebacker Tyler Moffatt who returned the pass 66 yards for what appeared to be a touchdown. But a flag for a block in the back negated the touchdown and returned the ball to the Glenwood 43 yard line.
The Rams, however, would hold on defense to force a punt.
Sergeant Bluff-Luton forced Glenwood to punt on its next possession and drove from their own 18 to Ram 22 but Hiserote’s field goal sailed left.
The two teams would trade two punts each in the third quarter until Glenwood’s offense showed signs of life. Three completions from Williams to tight end Cole Darrow and three shifty runs by tailback Nathan Knight set up Glenwood at the Warrior three-yard line. There Williams split two Warrior defenders on a dart to Ian Eflin for a touchdown.
Lawler’s point after kick, however, would sail wide right leaving Glenwood trailing 7-6.
On the ensuing kick off the Warriors would fumble at their own 19 yard line where the Rams recovered. The turnover victory would be short-lived as Glenwood handed the ball right back with a fumble on its first play from scrimmage.
The Ram defense stiffened once more and forced another Warrior punt. Taking over the 38-yard line, Glenwood drove to the Warrior 23 before four penalties moved them out of field goal range and forced their fifth punt of the half.
Glenwood would have one last opportunity - after forcing the fourth Warrior three-and-out of the half -when they took over on their own 44 yard line. After Williams’ nine-yard completion to Eliot Lincoln, the Warriors stuffed Knight for a 10-yard loss. But on third-and-three, Williams found Knight wide open on the right edge and the 5-foot-7, 160-pound scat back darted down the side line, broke a half dozen tackles and was finally forced out at the nine yard line.
Knight, who finished with 85 yards rushing and 93 receiving, came up big for the Rams all night..
“He had a about three big runs for us,” said Albert of Knight. “Too bad we couldn’t score off the first one. He runs so hard and reckless.”
Four plays later, Lawler had his chance at redemption and the senior didn’t miss it. His 20-yard field goal with :50 proved the game winner.
Darrow intercepted a Linafelter pass with :33 left to ice the win.
“We played really well on defense,” said Albert. “Early here we missed tackles and we weren’t very aggressive and the (defensive) line was kind of floating and not pushing or holding out ground, which made more clutter for our linebackers,” he said.
Take out the Warriors 82 yard opening drive and they finished with just 111 total yards. Take out to Glenwood defensive breakdowns that led to 50 yard and 56 yards pass completions, both on third downs, when Linafelter was flushed from the pocket, and Sergeant Bluff finished with less than 100 total yards, just 17 of which came in the second half.
“We had a couple miscues where their quarterback scrambled and our defensive backs got a little too excited and we got beat a deep pass and they made those plays,” said Albert. But the guys stepped it up in the second half. They’re playing a lot of guys two ways and so are we but we didn’t need to because we’re in better shape than that group. The kids really played well. (Bo) Darrow really stepped up but overall the defense stepped up all night.”
Glenwood started the game with seven first starters on each side of the ball, including a quarterback who had only take 20 varsity snaps and was nursing a hip and an ankle injury. Albert was worried the Warrior’s having opened the season with a “Zero Week” game last week would give them a leg up in first-game jitters. Turns out it was Albert’s team that was the more game-ready.
“The things we didn’t do well in the beginning, they (SBL) should have been over. So until you get on the field with officials you never know how the kids are going to react.”
Scoring by Quarters
Glenwood 00 00 00 09 9
SBL 07 00 00 00 7
SBL - Dakota Linafelter, 4 run (kick good).
G - Ian Eflin, 3 pass from Jon Williams (kick failed).
G - Michael Lawler, 20 field goal.