Glenwood wrapped up its regular football season on Friday with a 35-0 victory over Winterset.
The win secured the Rams (6-3) the No. 2 seed in Wednesday's substate game against Denison. Kick-off is set for 7 p.m. at Ram Memorial Field. Glenwood last made the playoffs in 1994, winning its opening two games over Oskaloosa and Pella before falling in four overtimes 17-14 to Spencer in the semifinals that season.
On Friday, Glenwood overcame a slow start in muddy conditions to post its second shutout of the season and win its third straight game.
“We played really well considering how muddy it was,” said Glenwood coach Brian Albert. “We don’t usually play well offensively in the mud but we had some success throwing it and on defense.”
With Winterset having success early stuffing the Rams’ running game, Albert turned to senior quarterback Nick Uphoff to back off the Huskie defense. And the senior delivered.
Uphoff completed 12-of-20 passes for a season-high 196 yards and two touchdowns in the game. The Rams’ success passing the ball opened up holes for running back Dylan Blankenship, who finished with 98 yards rushing on 24 carries. It was the first time this season Blankenship had been held under the century mark. Uphoff added 91 yards rushing on nine carries.
“He really helps us out on offense with another guy for them to stop,” Albert said of Uphoff. “We struggled to start but we hit some passes and that opened up our running game.”
Glenwood led 14-0 at the half and added two more scores early in the third quarter. Albert thought his team’s early lead and stout defense was the difference in the game.
“We thought if we could get up early we would really be in control,” he said. “They didn’t have a lot of luck running the ball on us. They got 138 yards but they needed 41 carries to get there.”
Winterset gained 59 of its 177 total yards on its final drive of the game against Glenwood's No. 2 defense. The Rams finished with 379 total yards, showing good balance with 183 yards rushing and 196 passing.
All five of the Rams’ scores came from seniors. The final touchdown of the game came when part-time starting defensive back Dustin Blount stepped in front of a Jordan Morris pass and returned it seven yards for a touchdown.
Also scoring touchdowns for Glenwood were senior wide receivers Grant Loeffelbein and Trent Jameson.
Glenwood won the final three games of the season, outscoring their opponents by an average of 29 points per game. Albert said the three-game win streak aligned nicely with the competition his team was facing and some defensive adjustments.
“Creston and Harlan have some bigger lineman we had to adjust to on defense so when we played these last three teams, they’re closer to our size and we were ready,” said Albert.
In tonight’s substate opponent, Albert sees a Denison team he calls “old school” and reminds him a little bit of Winterset and Creston on offense.
“They’re big and they want to run it down your throat,” he said.
Albert said the Monarchs (6-3) have a big, physical offensive line led by 6-foot-5, 290-pound Iowa commit Brandon Scherff, and a hard-nosed running back in senior Jesse Preul. Preul has rushed for 957 yards and 10 touchdowns this season. Quarterback Ricky Torres is a 6-foot-6 thrower (721 yards, five touchdowns) but not much of a running threat (minus-58 yards rushing).
“They use a lot of quick counts and want to get yards running right at you,” said Albert.