The Glenwood Rams (7-1, 5-1) are officially headed back to the postseason. A 28-0 blowout of the Winterset Huskies (5-3, 4-2) Friday night secured a runner-up spot in District 7 and punched Glenwood’s ticket to the Class 3A State Playoffs for the third consecutive year under Head Coach Cory Faust.
Coming off three straight 20+ point victories, Faust called Friday’s win his team’s best overall performance of the season in a game that seemed to be an even matchup on paper.
“I’m really proud of these guys, they just played great,” Faust said. “That’s a really good Winterset team, and to shut them out and move the ball like we did, it was just a great effort.
After two successive 400-yard rushing performances for the Ram offense, Glenwood’s 329 total yards on the ground should have been no surprise, even against a highly-regarded Winterset defense. Junior tailback Noah Carter had another huge game, bashing the Husky defensive front for 219 yards and three touchdowns on 32 carries. Senior quarterback Andrew Blum had quite the night of his own, rushing the ball 24 times for 116 yards and a score.
Faust was once again impressed with his two main ball carriers, but was even happier with the team effort put forth by the offensive line and the rest of the skill players.
“[Blum and Carter] get all the credit… but one thing that gets overlooked in all of this is the unselfishness of the rest of our skill guys.” said Faust.
Faust credited senior wideout Cody Buresh for a few clutch late-down snags which opened up the running game even more. He also mentioned the blocking of slot backs Cooper Silvius and Josh Ruth as a huge contributor to the Rams’ success.
While it was a routine night for the Ram rushing attack, Glenwood’s defense was fantastic. Senior defensive linemen Caleb Sanders, Isaac Bales and Dillon Wiser gave Husky quarterback Casey Kleemeier and the rest of the offense headaches all night long. Winterset tallied only 139 total yards on the night.
Sanders, who recorded 6.5 tackles, four of which were for a loss, was our Jeff Henry Chevrolet Player of the Game. Not only was he making plays on defense, but Sanders seemingly had the biggest workload on the offensive line as well, paving the way for his backs. The South Dakota State commit commented on his stellar performance.
“I felt really good tonight,” Sanders said. “The coaches did a really good job all week preparing us for where the ball was going to be and what to watch for on defense.”
Coming into this game, Kleemeier boasted the best touchdown to interception ratio in the district (10:2). However, pressure up front and a genius defensive scheme in the secondary caused many errant throws from Kleemeier, two of which were picked off by senior safety Jake Murtfeld.
“I thought our coverage was much-improved tonight by all of our defensive backs,” said Faust. “We were able to keep Murtfeld deep on a lot of the plays, which was huge, and we mixed up our fronts a lot and of course those guys up front were able to get good pressure.”
Glenwood got out to an early lead on the first possession and never looked back. Blum took it in from seven yards out less than three minutes into the first quarter to start the scoring for the Rams. The defense forced an abundance of three and outs all night, keeping the Winterset punter busy and the Glenwood offense on the field. The rest of the scoring all came in the hands of Carter, as he busted open touchdown runs of five, nine and 11 yards.
Regardless of what happens next week, Glenwood is locked into the postseason, finishing second in the district behind Harlan (7-1, 6-0), who picked up a 56-14 win over Denison (4-4, 3-3) last night. After finishing third in the standings last year, the Rams had to scramble to sneak into the playoffs on point differential criteria. Faust and Sanders emphasized that beating Winterset and getting a guaranteed bid was a huge sigh of relief for players, coaches and fans alike.
Faust said, “I don’t talk much about it with the kids, but it is a pain in the butt for me as a coach, always counting points and thinking about trying to win by 17… so this is really nice.”
Sanders said, “We feel like after that effort tonight, we got it next week, but we have to come back and stay humble and hungry before we start into the playoffs.”
The Rams will finish out the regular season with a home date against ADM (1-7, 0-6) next week for senior night before starting postseason play October 27.