The Glenwood Rams (3-1, 1-1) are no strangers to being down late in the game. “The Kardiac Kids” almost did it again, but in the end, the Harlan Cyclones (3-1, 2-0) walked away from Ram Memorial Field with a 17-14 victory.
It was a defensive battle, a coaching chess match and a dog fight until the final whistle. Glenwood Head Coach Cory Faust was impressed with his team’s effort, even if it was a losing one.
“I thought it was a good effort,” he said. “I mean, Harlan’s got a good team, so I don’t doubt our guys’ effort at all.”
The Rams were held scoreless in the first half for the third straight week. However, Glenwood’s defense held strong, keeping the Harlan offense contained through the first 24 minutes. Cyclone kicker Kyle Knudson had the only points to his name when he knocked through a 41-yard field goal late in the second quarter. After a few great plays through the air between senior quarterback Andrew Blum and a plethora of different wide receivers, the Rams had a chance to tie the game with one second remaining in the first half. However, Harlan maintained their lead when Wyatt Schaben blocked Glenwood sophomore Alex Nusser’s 24-yard field goal attempt.
Harlan was the first team to find the endzone in this game when senior running back Nick Foss picked off Blum, and five plays later took it in for six out of the wildcat formation, something the Rams haven’t seen all year. The Cyclones took a 10-0 lead into the fourth quarter.
On the first play of the fourth quarter, Glenwood corner Zach Carr came up with a huge open field tackle of Foss on 4th-and-2 to halt a Harlan drive at the Ram 12 yard line. Glenwood took over and went to work on the ground. The Rams began pounding the ball with the classic “three yards and a cloud of dust” attitude. Junior Noah Carter’s one-yard touchdown run capped off a seven minute, 88-yard Glenwood drive. They were right back in the game, trailing 10-7 with just over four minutes to go.
It wasn’t long before Harlan would hush the Glenwood crowd. Following a failed onside kick attempt from the Rams, the Cyclones faced a 3rd-and-10 at midfield when Foss broke open a 22 yard run. Just two plays later Foss did it again, scoring from 33 yards out and seemingly slamming the door.
The Rams wouldn’t lay down, however. Carr’s energizing 68-yard kickoff return set Glenwood up at the Harlan 30 yard line with under two minutes to play. A few plays later Blum found senior Josh Ruth for a 13-yard gain down to the one yard line. Carter took it in, and the Rams were given new life with just 58 seconds remaining.
Glenwood once again could not convert on the onside kick, and Harlan’s Preston Mulligan kneeled the ball three times, ending the game.
Blum was his normal self on the ground, rushing for 104 yards on 20 carries. He also found more success through the air in this game than he has all season, completing 14 of 23 passes for 173 yards, but throwing two interceptions as well. Buresh was the favorite target as he caught four targets for 68 yards.
Carter was the only Ram with any points to his name with a pair of goal line scores. He finished the night with 31 yards and two touchdowns.
Foss racked up 144 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries to lead the Cyclones to their second district victory of the season. His effort also helped legendary Head Coach Curt Bladt earn his 400th career victory, a milestone only three coaches in Iowa High School history have reached. Not only has Bladt won 400 games, but he has only suffered 59 losses in his 40 seasons at Harlan.
As for this season, the Cyclones now sit atop District 7 in a three-way tie for the lead with a couple of unlikely companions: Winterset and Denison. The Rams fall to a tie for second following their first district loss.
“Our district is very good this year, top to bottom,” said Faust. “Any team can win on our schedule the rest of the year.”
Faust has all the confidence in the world that his team will bounce back from this heartbreaking defeat.
“Our goal is to be the best we can be, and our goal of winning the district and winning a state championship is still out there,” he said. “We obviously have a lot of room to improve and we plan to do that.”
The Rams will travel to Denison next week to take on a Monarch (3-1, 2-0) team that is coming off a big 35-14 win over Creston.