COLFAX — Colfax-Mingo gave great effort Friday night against two-time defending Class A state champion Gladbrook-Reinbeck in the Tigerhawks’ season finale on Senior Night.
It just wasn’t quite enough to pull off a big upset.
The seventh-ranked Rebels rallied from an early hole and scored 28 unanswered points to win the Class A District 5 finale 28-7 over the Tigerhawks.
Colfax-Mingo played about as well as coach Jeff Lietz could have asked for.
“They finally brought what I thought this team was capable of bringing,” Lietz said. “They came with great intensity, and they came out to win. They weren’t intimidated and we executed fairly well.”
The Tigerhawks forced G-R into two turnovers and they forced the Rebels to punt twice in their first four possessions. The visitors had a short field on the fifth possession, and they took full advantage with a one-play, 28-yard touchdown drive that gave them the lead for good.
After both teams punted on their first possessions of the game, C-M junior Zarek Hill gave the Tigerhawks great field position with his state-leading eighth interception of the season.
Colfax-Mingo (4-6 overall, 3-4 in district play) got the ball at the G-R 34-yard line and scored in nine plays.
The drive began with a sack of quarterback Reegan Van Dyke, but a 23-yard run by Van Dyke set up a short fourth-down attempt. After Hill picked up the first down with a short run, he gained 15 yards on the next three plays to set up the Tigerhawks inside the 10-yard line.
Two plays later, Van Dyke hooked up with sophomore Trystin Ross for the 6-yard TD completion. Ross went up for the ball and pulled it away from the Rebel defender to put his team up 7-0.
Colfax-Mingo kept the momentum when G-R quarterback Hunter Lott fumbled the ball away on the first play of the Rebels’ next possession.
Unfortunately, the Tigerhawks couldn’t score and turned it over on downs after 12 plays.
“We came to play tonight and played the way we are capable of playing, but good teams will take advantage of the small things you don’t do well,” Lietz said.
After turning it over on downs, the Tigerhawks forced the Rebels to punt again. This time, the punt off Walker Thede’s foot was downed at the C-M 1-yard line.
After picking up a first down in two plays, the Tigerhawks punted four plays later. A high snap forced a poor punt, and the Rebels started with the ball on the Tigerhawk 28-yard line.
One play later, Gage Murty scored to put the Rebels up for good.
“We stuck to the gameplan defensively. We gave them a short field on the first-half TD and besides that, that was about as good of football as I have ever coached,” Lietz said. “We had a couple things that went against us in the second half, but I was very happy with the way the boys played.”
The Rebels took an 8-7 lead into the locker room and put the game away with two 80-yard scoring drives on their first two possessions of the second half.
Gladbrook-Reinbeck did most of its damage on the ground on the first possession. Keagan Giesking got loose for runs of 14 and 31 yards and a pass interference by the Tigerhawks set up the Rebels inside the red zone.
Murty scored three plays later from three yards out.
Lott went to the air on the Rebels’ next drive. After completing just one of his 10 passes in the first half, Lott was 7-of-9 in the final two quarters. He was 4-of-4 on the second TD drive after gaining 28 yards on the first play from scrimmage.
Lott’s 24-yard completion to Matt Johannsen and 17-yard pass to Giesking set up G-R inside the 10-yard line. Giesking scored on the ground two plays later to put the Rebels (8-1, 6-1) up 21-7 with 11 seconds left in the third quarter.
The Tigerhawks did not have the services of Hill for a large portion of the second half. His presence on both sides of the ball was missed.
“What hurt when he went off the field, because we already lost Brady Berkey to an injury earlier, was that we had to scramble and move guys around,” Lietz said. “We had to go back to a cover 3 look instead of our cover 2, and they took advantage of that. That was good on their part.”
Still, the Tigerhawks had a chance to still win.
Trailing 21-7 with 5 minutes to play in the game, Colfax-Mingo drove all the way down to the G-R 27-yard line. The drive stalled out though after Johannsen picked off a Van Dyke pass and sprinted 75 yards for the game-clinching score.
Johannsen snatched the ball out of the air after it bounced off the hands of a Tigerhawk receiver.
“Give credit to them. They are a darn good football team, but we came to play and showed up,” Lietz said. “I think this was our best game of the year. They realized this was it for us this year I think, too. We have gotten effort out of them all year, but there was certainly something extra tonight.”
Van Dyke finished 14-of-28 through the air for 118 yards, one TD and one interception.
The Tigerhawks rushed for 125 yards, led by Hill’s 52 on 13 carries and Damir Gumerov’s 51 on 12 carries. Hill also had three catches for 31 yards.
“We ran the ball like we should have been running it all year,” Lietz said. “I thought the offensive line was incredible. Reegan played his heart out. Everyone played their hearts out.”
Junior Alex Lewis led the receivers with seven catches for 58 yards.
Hill led the defense with seven tackles, while senior Jake Dunsbergen had six tackles in his final high school game. Gumerov and Ross both recovered a fumble.
Gladbrook-Reinbeck 0-8-14-6 — 28
Colfax-Mingo 7-0-0-0 — 7
C-M — Trystin Ross 6 pass from Reegan Van Dyke (Brady Berkey kick)
G-R — Gage Murty 28 run (Hunter Lott run)
G-R — Murty 3 run (Walker Thede kick)
G-R — Keagan Giesking 3 run (missed kick)
G-R — Matt Johannsen 75 interception return (Thede kick)