Through five games this season the Glenwood football team had scored 29 points.
Through two quarters of play against Red Oak on Friday, the Rams’ nearly matched that point total sprinting out to a 24-0 halftime lead en route to a 31-22 victory before a reporter-estimated crowd of 2,500 on Homecoming Night in Glenwood.
“We dropped a couple of touchdown passes, got penalized on another, so the score could have been even worse in the first half,” said Glenwood coach Brian Albert after the win. “I honestly think if we had played our 1’s it would have been a shutout. And at the same time, I know that is not our goal and we had it and I feel comfortable with how we played. It’s almost too bad it had to be that early in the game because some of our starting seniors didn’t get as much time as they’d have liked.”
The Rams got on the board in the first quarter after Hunter McNeel stepped in front of a Matt Goracke pass, returning it to the Red Oak 10-yard line. Four plays later Michael Lawler’s 27-yard field goal put Glenwood ahead 3-0.
After forcing a Tiger three-and-out on the ensuing possession, Eliot Lincoln grabbed the punt and weaved 47 yards through the Tiger defense to set up a Rams’ first-and-goal at the four-yard line. The Rams’ Nathan Knight scored on the next play for a 10-0 lead with 2:56 to go in the first quarter.
The Tigers next drive stalled on fourth down, giving Glenwood the ball on its own 35-yard line. A steady dose of Knight moved the ball to the eight yard line where Ram quarterback Grant Stivers’ appeared to connect with Cole Darrow for an eight-yard touchdown pass, but a holding call negated the score. Glenwood fumbled on the next play, turning over the ball on the Tigers’ four.
The momentum swing didn’t hold for long. The Tigers earned their third first down of the half on the drive but the Glenwood defense once again forced a punt. And once again, Lincoln came up big.
The 5-foot-8 senior grabbed the punt at the 50 and broke for the right sideline nearly untouched for his first career punt return for a touchdown.
On the ensuing possession, the Tigers moved into Glenwood territory but a fumble at the Rams’ 19 was scooped up by Nathanael Bledsoe who returned it to the 26-yard line. Glenwood, however, couldn’t capitalize on the turnover and was forced to punt with 44 seconds to go in the half.
But the Tigers mishandled Lawler’s punt and Levi Henderson recovered at the Red Oak 20. Two plays later Knight scored on a two-yard plunge to put Glenwood ahead 24-0 at the half.
Glenwood added another score in the third quarter on an 11 play, 66 yard drive capped by fullback Alex Reinert’s two-yard dive.
Albert pulled his starters over the final quarter and a half. The Tigers’ capitalized on the Rams’ back-ups - with the help of a Ram turnover and a recovery on an onside kick - for three fourth quarter scoring drives.
The Tigers got on the board in the fourth quarter when Cole Meek darted into the end zone from six yards out. The touchdown capped an eight-play 80-yard drive and seemed to energize the Tiger offense.
Red Oak forced a Ram three-and-out on their next possession and drove 77 yards in nine plays to find the end zone on Goracke’s 15 yard touchdown dart to Meet. The two point conversion made the score 31-14 with 1:57 to go in the game.
But the Tigers weren’t done yet. Red Oak recovered an onside kick on the ensuing kick off and took over at the Glenwood 48. Six straight running plays later, Nick Leinen scored from four yards out.
“We got into the second half and we wanted to play a lot of people,”said Albert. “This team has been beat up a bit, the Red Oak guys. Its not that I didn’t want a bigger score but I thought it was important to get some bodies in that have earned playing time and to be in front of a homecoming crowd.
“We have some seniors that don’t play a lot and we wanted to get them in. Without looking at my depth chart I think we got everybody in and most got more time than they anticipated. That was fun.”
The Tigers ended up out yarding the Rams 293 to 256 but through three quarters Red Oak totaled 84 yards of total offense against the Rams’ top unit.
Knight led with a game-high 100 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Despite their 2-4 record, Glenwood still holds a slim playoff chance if they can win their final three games over Winterset, Creston and Carroll.
“We need some momentum,” said Albert. “We gained some the last couple week a little bit to what we lost in game time situations. We have three games left, we need to win them all to get in the playoffs. In one way they’re all doable and in another way they’re all going to be a challenge.”
G 17 14 00 00 31
R 00 00 00 22 22
G – Michael Lawler, 27 field goal.
G – Nathan Knight, 9 run (kick good).
G – Eliot Lincoln, 45 punt return (kick good).
G – Knight, 2 run (kick good).
G – Alex Reinert, 2 run (kick good).
R – Cole Meek, 6 run (kick failed).
R – Matt Goracke to Meet, 15 pass (kick good).
R – Nick Leinen, 4 run (conversion good).