The Glenwood Rams (5-1, 3-1) picked up their third district win Friday night over Atlantic. A 400-yard rushing performance and some timely defensive stops helped fend off a Trojan comeback as the Rams nabbed a 42-20 homecoming victory. This win gives the Rams a realistic shot at a playoff bid, barring any wild upsets in the final three weeks of the season.
On paper, this game seemed like it should be a breeze for the Rams. However, a much-improved Atlantic squad gave them a run for their money in the second half. Head Coach Cory Faust wasn’t surprised by the amount of fight in the Trojans.
“Atlantic has some really good players,” said Faust. “There are no bad teams in our district this year.”
It looked as if it would be smooth sailing for Glenwood after an impressive first half. The Rams were rolling, taking a 28-7 lead early in the third quarter off of a touchdown run from senior quarterback Andrew Blum. However, some untimely miscues from the Rams allowed Atlantic to get right back in the game.
“It is not realistic to think games won't be close if we don't take care of the ball or if we have unforced errors,” said Faust.
The Trojans quickly erased the 21 point deficit, and only trailed by eight with a first down inside the Glenwood red zone early in the fourth quarter. The Ram defense, which had been struggling with the Atlantic air attack all night, came up big with their backs against the wall. Senior safety Jake Murtfeld picked off Trojan quarterback Jackson Eden at the Glenwood 10 yard line, making Atlantic’s momentum come to a screeching halt.
The Rams walked right down the field on the next possession, riding the coattail of a dominating offensive line and some tough running from junior fullback Noah Carter. Carter capped off the 90 yard drive with a six yard touchdown run to put the Rams up 35-20.
The Glenwood defense stepped up once again, putting the game on ice by forcing a turnover on downs. Carter officially sealed the deal when he broke open a 37-yard touchdown scamper with under two minutes remaining.
Carter posted his best game of the season by far, finishing with a superb 202 yards and four touchdowns on 27 carries. Our Jeff Henry Chevrolet Player of the game commented on the Rams’ powerful rushing attack.
“I had confidence that we could just pound it at them just like we’ve done all year,” said Carter. “We just have a key group of pure muscle up front.”
Glenwood racked up a total of 409 yards on the ground. In addition to Carter’s stellar performance, Blum had quite the night of his own, posting 165 rushing yards and two scores on 28 carries.
“Noah and Andrew run the the ball very hard, and that is the expectation,” Faust said. “Their extra effort and athleticism are assets to our team.”
Although he was impressed with his two main ball carriers, Faust was quick to mention that it was a total team effort from everyone on the offense.
“Our line was very good once again, and our slots and receivers also play a big part in being able to run the ball like that,” said Faust.
Glenwood currently sits in a tie with Denison for second place in District 7, but owns the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Monarchs. Both Winterset (5-1, 4-0) and Harlan (5-1, 4-0) picked up wins Friday to maintain their undefeated district records and remain in a tie atop the standings Those two teams will face off this coming week in a battle for outright first place.
Faust knows that earning a spot in the 16-team state playoff format is a difficult task, and the Rams expected it to be a dogfight in the later weeks.
Faust put it simply: “If we win every game from here, we make the playoffs. If we happen to lose, it will come down to points and it will be very hard. You always know coming into the season it will be very tough to get into the postseason and that’s why every game is really important.”
While they know the next three weeks will be a grind, both Faust and Carter have the utmost confidence in Glenwood’s ability to get the job done.
“There isn't much use in worrying about the playoffs. We just have to get better as much as possible and give it our best shot each week,” Faust said.
“I think as a team we know that we can do whatever we need to,” said Carter. “We just have to keep our minds right and stay confident in our coaches and most importantly ourselves.”
The Rams will be back in action this Friday when they travel to Creston to take on the Panthers (1-5, 0-4).