COUNCIL BLUFFS – Glenwood’s season-opening football game against St. Albert at Al Leber Field Friday night turned out to be a tale of two halves.
The Rams held their own for the first two quarters of the game, outplaying the perennial Class 1A powerhouse on their way to a 6-0 halftime lead.
The second half of the game, however, was a much different story. The Falcons scored 24 unanswered points after halftime before pulling away to a 31-12 victory.
“The first half we played pretty well, but they’re a pretty good football team,” Glenwood head coach Brian Albert said. “We ended up with too many big plays against us and not near as many for us.”
The Rams controlled the momentum for the first two quarters of the game and got on the scoreboard late in the first quarter on a 3-yard plunge by tailback Dylan Blankenship. The touchdown culminated a 65-yard drive that included three pass completions from quarterback Nick Uphoff, starting his first game behind center.
St. Albert got a spark on the second-half kickoff when Jake Gentile fielded the ball and returned it 57 yards to the Glenwood 37. Moments later, Steve O’Neill scored the first of his three touchdowns on a 10-yard, third-and-goal pass from the Falcon quarterback Jake Waters. The duo would later team up on touchdown passes from 20 and 15 yards out.
Albert said Gentile’s kickoff return and a subsequent interception on the Rams’ ensuing possession was the turning point of the game.
“That gave them a lot of momentum,” Albert said. “They come flying down the field and they come flying off the football, too.”
A Gabe Meis field goal from 32 yards out midway through the fourth quarter sealed the win for the Falcons.
Glenwood got 131 yards rushing from Blankenship. Uphoff passed for 162 yards while completing 12-of-27 passes. Josh Mathews hauled in five passes that netted 84 yards, while Blankenship was on the receiving end of five Uphoff aerials, including a 23-yard highlight reel catch and run that provided the Rams with their second touchdown of the night in the final minutes of the game.
“We made some good plays, we just didn’t make enough of them,” Albert said. “We try to work some depth, but with some guys gassed, we struggled at the end. The effort was there, I’m just not sure where we’re at.
“We’ve got five or six big guns back, but we’ve got some big holes to fill, and it wasn’t even solid by some of the big guns so that makes it tough. It’s an experience game – we’re not going to be 9-0 obviously anymore, but at the same time, hopefully we’ll improve. They’re a quality team that brings out the mistakes in you.”
Blankenship finished the night with 131 yards rushing on 19 attempts.
Glenwood hopes to get on the winning track Friday night when the Rams host Clarinda in the home opener at Ram Memorial Field. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. The Cardinals lost their season opener to Atlantic, 33-0.
Glenwood 6 0 0 6-12
St. Albert 0 0 14 17-31
GLN - Dylan Blankenship, 3-yard run (kick failed).
SAL – Stephen O’Neill, 10-yard pass from Jake Waters (Gabe Meis kick).
SAL – O’Neill, 20-yard pass from Waters (Meis kick).
SAL – O’Neill, 15-yard pass from Waters (Meis kick).
SAL – Meis, 32-yard field goal.
GLN – Blankenship, 23-yard pass from Nick Uphoff (run failed).
SAL – Andrew Brown, 50-yard run (Meis kick).