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Rebels stop Spartans in rubber match after 98 years
September 3, 2017

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GRUNDY CENTER - The last chapter in a century-long series between neighbors and rivals tilted toward Gladbrook-Reinbeck one last time, as the Rebels ran past Grundy Center 28-7 in Friday's season-opening high school football game.

With the Rebels destined for 8-Man football next fall and Grundy Center too big to follow, the longest running series in Iowa ended with a 45-44-9 advantage on the strength of Gladbrook-Reinbeck's 20th victory in the last 23 meetings. G-R quarterback Hunter Lott had three touchdown passes and the Rebel defense did enough to limit Grundy Center's anticipated ground game behind its mammoth offensive line.

With all the pomp and circumstance of a Homecoming game, Gladbrook-Reinbeck weathered the early storm of emotions and endured Grundy Center's lengthy drive that traveled 78 yards but ended with a blocked field-goal attempt.

The Rebels put the ball in the end zone on the ensuing possession, crossing the field for 84 yards on just eight plays, capped by a 46-yard scoring pass from Lott to Gage Murty. Gladbrook-Reinbeck, the two-time defending Class A state champions, rode the momentum to another score the next time it touched the ball. Lott connected with Matt Johannsen on a 15-yard slant pass for a touchdown and Lott's conversion pass to Murty made it 14-0 Rebels heading into halftime.

Gladbrook-Reinbeck made it a three-score difference when Walker Thede took Lott's screen pass and scampered 48 yards to the end zone two plays into the fourth quarter.

Grundy Center finally found its way onto the scoreboard with Caleb Kuiper's 3-yard touchdown plunge with 5:46 to play, but the Rebels piled on one last score to what was the longest running rivalry game in the state. Thede took a handoff 46 yards across the goal line and Josh Peterson's two-point conversion run were the final points of a series that had endured 99 years.

Lott finished 10-for-17 passing for 192 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. Thede was the team's leading rusher with three carries for 55 yards and made four catches for 68 yards. Murty had three grabs for a game-high 92 yards.

Grundy Center's offense, which possessed the ball for 30 minutes to G-R's 17:48, got outgained by nine yards, 260-251. Kuiper toted the pigskin 19 times for 121 yards and the Spartans' lone score, while Zach Grant added 10 carries for 32 yards. Quarterback Jake Bangasser ended 6-for-13 for 58 yards with an interception, picked off by G-R's Cael Wyatt. Sage Klar had four catches for 49 yards.

Gladbrook-Reinbeck entertains another nearby rival - Dike-New Hartford - Friday night, while Grundy Center travels west down Highway 175 for a showdown with South Hardin.

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