Rams fall in state quarterfinals

Glenwood head football coach Cory Faust hugs senior Logan Hughes following the Rams’ season-ending loss.

Glenwood’s football season came to an end Friday in the Class 4A state quarterfinals.

Four turnovers and 349 yards rushing by Bondurant-Farrar was too much for the Rams too overcome – despite twice cutting the lead to three points in the fourth quarter – in a 31-21 loss at the Glenwood Activities Complex.

“I’m disappointed in the loss not our effort,” said Glenwood coach Cory Faust after the game. “It’s been a great ride. I’m super thankful for our seniors, they are obviously a talented group but they’re good people too. You talk about the main purpose of our program is to develop men of integrity and empathy who led and be responsible and change the world for good and there’s no doubt in my mind they’ll do that.”

The No. 3 ranked Rams (8-3) were the ones to take the lead early. They marched 81 yards in four plays to go up 7-0 on their opening drive when running back Kellan Scott fumbled a ball into the endzone that was pounced on by Payton Longmeyer.

That would be the end of Glenwood’s offensive highlights the first half, however. On their remaining first half drives they turned it over once, punted twice and were stopped on a fourth-and-goal at the Bluejays’ 5-yard line.

Despite the offensive struggles, the Rams still found themselves nursing a 7-3 lead at the half thanks to their defense.

The Bluejays would adjust at halftime.

Glenwood turned it over on their first offensive possession of the second half to set Bondurant-Farrar up inside the Rams’ 5-yard line. One play later, Caleb Moore darted in for a touchdown. The point-after made the score 10-7.

On their ensuing offensive possession, Glenwood moved the ball to midfield before the drive stalled. A punt pinned the Bluejays at their own 7-yard line but it wouldn’t extinguish their momentum.

Undaunted by the field position hole, Bondurant-Farrar responded with a grueling 14 play, 93-yard drive that featured no passes. Moore once again capped the drive with a wildcat run from under center to make it 17-7 with :09.2 left to go in third frame.

The turnover and the resulting drive – which ate up more than eight minutes of clock – was big a big flip in the Bluejays’ favor.

“It seemed like we turned it over more times than they did,” said Faust, and his team’s four turnovers to the Bluejays’ two. “It’s hard to win like that but no one play decides the game. Maybe it was fate. They’re a really good team over there. There’s no guarantee you’re going to win. It’s not always the best team that wins necessarily, something it’s the team that’s better that night.”

The two teams traded punts to open the fourth quarter. And then the Rams came to life. Going to almost exclusively four and five wide receivers sets, quarterback Kayden Anderson connected with four different receivers on a 64-yard drive. His hookup with Casey Godbout from six yards out cut the lead to 17-14 with 8:39 to go.

It wouldn’t take long, however, for the Bluejays to answers.

On the next play from scrimmage, Moore raced 78 yards around the right side to the endzone. The extra-point put the Bluejays lead back to 10 at 24-14.

A turnover on their very next drive might have ended all hope but the Rams didn’t fold. They held on defense on the Bluejays’ next drive and got the ball back with 5:30 to go. Five plays and 69 yards later, Anderson’s TD pass to Jack Johnson and the ensuing extra-point cut the lead to 24-21 with just over four minutes to go.

Bondurant-Farrar would recover the Rams’ attempted on-side kick but once again, the defense stepped up and held on a fourth-and-4 at the Bluejays on 48.

But the comeback would end there. Three plays later, Anderson was picked off by Landon Cory ending the Rams’ hopes and season.

Bondurant-Farrar would add a 6-yard TD run by Batpiny Riak on their next drive to go back ahead 31-21.

The fact his team never quit and fought to the end says a lot about the character of his team, Faust said.

“We have stud competitors out there and we knew that,” Faust said. “These guys answered the bell time and time again this year. I’m so proud of what they did for this program. There was a time mid-season where we weren’t doing things right and there was a lot of accountability taken by everybody.

“It would have been easy for us to be a mediocre team and we got better as the season went along. You saw that heart and character tonight.”

For the game, the Bluejays added 95 yards passing to go with their 349 rushing yards. Moore had a strong night running the ball – often as the Bluejays’ wildcat quarterback – after tallying 242 yards and three TDs.

Glenwood finished with 435 total yards, 329 of it coming on Anderson’s 20-of-31 passing night. Longmeyer, who became the Rams’ all-time leading receiver in the game, hauled in seven passes for 153 yards.

The loss was the Rams’ second straight on the doorstep of the UNI Dome and the state semifinals following last season’s setback against Council Bluffs Lewis Central in the quarterfinals. That historical achievement – and the team’s 15-7 record the last two seasons – isn’t lost on Faust.

“There’s a lot of positives in this one to grow from,” he said. “Hopefully, everybody in our community and our returning players and our youth players see we can be successful. It doesn’t matter if we’re one of the smallest schools in 4A, we can get better in the stuff we do.

Teams that care more about competing tend to have success in the season. We know the recipe; we just have to follow it.”

In all, 16 seniors player their last game for the Rams. Faust said he talked about legacy with his team before the game.

“I told them we might be bring the legacy of being two-time quarterfinalists but more than anything its Kellan Scott changing positions three or four times. It’s doing what’ best for the time.

“It’s them and me taking accountability in the middle of the season and trying to get better. It’s guys competing like crazy against all odds through adversity and injuries. I’m super proud and thankful for the mark they left on our program.”


The Opinion-Tribune

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