Rams pitch playoff shutout in 21-0 win
What a difference a week makes.
Seven days after allowing 522 yards in a wild 52-35 shootout victory over Norwalk in their regular season finale, Glenwood’s defense stepped up big time in Friday’s state playoff opening round rematch with the Warriors.
The Rams allowed just 123 yards on 54 snaps and held Norwalk scoreless for the first time this season in a dominating 21-0 victory. The win puts Glenwood into the Class 4A state quarterfinals for the second straight season and sets up another home game Friday against Bondurant Farrar.
Glenwood coach Cory Faust couldn’t credit any schematic changes in the defensive rebound from last week to this week against the Warriors.
“We had a lot of the same things in, we just executed it better,” Faust said after the game. “I’ll chalk last week up to poor coaching. They are really good at throwing the short routes if they have space and we thought we could take that away. We did add a few things, but the players did an outstanding job.”
Faust singled out his cornerbacks – Jack Johnson and Christian Eiseman – “out there on islands” playing tight man-to-man much of the game to take away the Warriors’ bread and butter short passing game. The coach also offered praise to his defensive line.
“Sometimes the best pass defense is a pass rush too,” he said, calling out the pressure applied by Trent Patton, Logan Hughes, Preston Longchaya and Pauley Simonetti along the defensive front.
“This was team effort. The level of execution they had and the plays they made can makes coaches look a lot better.”
On a frigid night with temperatures in the 30s, both teams’ offenses struggled early to warm up. After a scoreless first quarter that saw the two teams each turn the ball over once and combine to net 53 total yards, the Rams finally found their rhythm in the second quarter.
Quarterback Kayden Anderson keyed a 12 play, 62-yard drive capped by a 10-yard touchdown toss to Payton Longmeyer. The Rams’ leading receiver hauled in four passes on the drive for 32 yards.
The Ram defense forced another Warrior punt on the ensuing drive and took over possession on their on 27. Six plays later, Anderson hooked up with Longmeyer again, this time from 42 yards out, for another TD dart. The extra-point gave Glenwood a 14-0 lead heading into halftime.
Glenwood had the ball coming out of halftime looking to put the game away but a fumble on the opening snap gave the ball right back to their Warriors at the Rams 23. But the Glenwood defense would come up big once again. After running six plays to set up a third-and-goal at the 4-yard line, the Rams forced a two-yard loss and a Norwalk field goal attempt. The field goal would sail low and wide right.
The big stop and the flip in momentum proved crucial.
Glenwood responded with a grinding, 15 play, 80-yard drive that ate up more than eight minutes of clock. Kellan Scott put in the capper on a two-yard run. The point after made it 21-0 with just over two minutes to go in the third quarter.
“That was a huge we were able to get the stop and then matriculate it down the field and get some runs going, they were really loading the box,” Faust said. “They have two outstanding players on defense, and they were really tough to move the ball on. I really have to give a lot of credit to our offensive line and the guys for hanging in there to get the job done.”
The Warriors changed quarterbacks for their final three drives – from starter Aidan Harder to sophomore James Hatlevig – but with little impact. Their final 15 plays netted 44 total yards and just three first downs.
Glenwood totaled 234 total yards on the night. Anderson finished 11-of-18 passing for 140 yards. Longmeyer hauled in eight balls for 100 yards to go with his two TDs. Kellan Scott led the ground game with 36 yards rushing and a touchdown.
The Rams did finish minus-two in turnovers.
“That’s not a winning business model we want to continue,” Faust said. “We want to take a little better care of the ball.”
Bondurant Farrar (8-2), who finished the regular season as the No. 4 ranked team in the state, comes into town off a 23-6 win over Pella in Friday’s playoff opener. The Bluejays boast a balanced offense led by quarterback Jordan Rial and running backs Caleb Moore and Titus Cram. Rial has thrown for 1,507 yards while Cram, a three star back with offers from Iowa, Iowa State and Nebraska among others, has rushed for 1,238 yards and 17 TDs. But Cram has missed the Bluejays last two games with an injury. His status for Friday isn’t known but
Moore proved himself against Pella, rushing for 309 yards and two TDs on 37 carries.
Faust compared the Bluejays’ offense to Lewis Central with their similar off tackle run game, veteran offensive line and accurate quarterback.
“Cram is one of the best I’ve seen this year,” Faust said. “Their next tailback also runs the ball extremely well and their offensive line is big and experienced.”
One thing Faust is certain of is how excited to see his team earn a second home playoff game, believed to be for the first time in school history.
“It’s outstanding,” he said. “I don’t think we’ve ever done that here. It’s a big credit to these kids. They’re competitors and they’ve worked really hard.”
Kickoff Friday is set for 7 p.m. at the Glenwood Activities Complex.
G 00 14 07 00 21
N 00 00 00 00 00
G – Patyon Longmeyer from Kayden Anderson, 10 pass (kick good).
G – Longmeyer from Anderson, 42 pass (kick good).
G – Kellan Scott, 2 run (kick good).