RED OAK — A 21-point second quarter lifted the Glenwood football team to a 49-6 victory over Red Oak Friday night in the season opener for both teams.
The Rams led 14-6 heading into the second frame when Corey Bertini connected with Sam Jameson on a fourth-and-20 for a 36-yard touchdown pass.
Glenwood Head Coach Cory Faust said his first thought was to punt the ball on fourth down, but the coach thought better of it when determining his team might not gain much field position with a punt and opted to go for it.
“It was actually a nice improvisation by Corey [Bertini] and Sam [Jameson],” Faust said. “We had actually planned on throwing it back across the field, but they made a nice play. Sam made an outstanding play on the ball.”
Red Oak prepared to line up in punt formation, but immediately changed when they saw Glenwood was going for it.
“I hate to put out even one play, because that didn’t cost us the game,” Red Oak Football Coach Jeff Spotts said.
Spotts said there was a breakdown in the coverage on the fourth down play and the Rams made them pay.
“The safety thought he was playing a cover three, well, that left him out of position to where he should have been,” he said. “That one was a heartbreaker.”
Glenwood followed up a few minutes later in the quarter when Bertini completed an 85-yard pass for a touchdown to Spencer Smith to swell the lead to 28-6. Bertini, who would finish his first career start completing 6-of-11 passes for 207 yards and two touchdowns, engineered all three scoring drives in the second quarter.
“We feel like we’re well balanced,” Faust said. “We’re happy with the way Corey can throw the ball. We got a lot of guys that can make big plays catching the ball.”
After a Red Oak three-and-out on the ensuing drive, Glenwood had another opportunity to score before the half ended. Glenwood almost didn’t get a chance to extend the lead when Red Oak appeared to recover a fumble but the ball was later whistled dead prior to the turnover. Smith scored once again on a 3-yard run to give Glenwood a 35-6 lead at intermission.
“I don’t say much about the officiating, because it doesn’t win or lose this game, but I will say the play was a little bit strange,” Spotts said of the missed turnover chance. “I didn’t hear a whistle, but I had seen my guy coming out of the pack with the football running. So I’m not sure what happened. They thought they blew the whistle or maybe they did blow the whistle, it doesn’t matter. Point was, we didn’t get the call our way. That would have been nice to change the pace for us.”
Spotts said Red Oak made its fair share of first game mistakes late in the half that cost them.
“We stopped hitting the point of attack, offensively and honestly, we were starting to get tired,” he said. “Instead of committing with your whole body to make the tackle or stop, you start reaching with your hands. We had kids in position, we just couldn’t make the plays.”
After holding Red Oak to a three-and-out to open the second half, Glenwood’s first possession of the third quarter led to another touchdown, courtesy of a Derek Jones 14 yard scamper. Jones finished with a career-high 127 yards and three touchdowns.
The mercy rule clock started at the 9:06 mark in the third quarter and continued for the rest of the game. Glenwood scored their last touchdown on a four-yard run by Jacob Sowers with four minutes left in the game.
Faust said the team talked about playing like the game was 0-0 in the second half and taking advantage of every chance they had.
“I thought our guys did a nice job there,” Faust said.
The Rams struck first in the game when Jones scored on a two-yard run with 6:19 left in the first quarter.
“They put up a pretty good drive, got up and scored on us there, a little bit easier than we would have liked,” Spotts said.
Red Oak responded the following drive when Nick Leinen scored on a one-yard run. The Tigers missed the two-point conversion and trailed 7-6. But that would be all the offense for the Tigers, who finished with 113 totals yard to the Rams’ 442.
“The kids came off the field and I said you’ve been punched in the mouth, now you have to make a decision on what you’re going to do,” Spotts said. “The kids responded with great energy, drove down the field and scored a touchdown.”
Leinen was the team’s leading rusher with 14 carries for 53 yards. Defensively, Leinen was also the team’s leader with 14 tackles, including seven solo stops.
Ryan Leininger made the start at quarterback for Red Oak. He finished 3-for-8 for 58 yards passing.
“We just have to tackle better and block better at the point of attack,” Spotts said. “We can be successful on certain plays if we execute.”
The win was the first for Faust as Glenwood’s head coac, as he was named the Rams coach during the offseason after spending the last nine seasons at A-H-S-T High School.
“It’s never as good as you think, but there’s a lot of stuff we can look at on the film to get better at,” Faust said. “But I was really happy with the effort and attitude.”
Glenwood hosts Council Bluffs Thomas Jefferson in its home opener Friday.