Every point counts as Spartans down Newman

Grundy Center's Nick Ascher keeps Newman's George Schmit at an arm's length after catching a pass during Friday's game in Grundy Center. (Jake Ryder/The Grundy Register)

The full article will appear in next week's Grundy Register. Subscribe by calling (319) 824-6958 or clicking here. 

 

GRUNDY CENTER – Every play had to be its own battle in Grundy Center on Friday night.

 

The Spartans didn't completely stop Mason City Newman, but they made the right plays at the right time, and that was enough to triumph in a 21-20 squeaker against a Knights team ranked by several state media outlets.

 

The Knights appeared to be on their way to tying the game in the fourth quarter on an impressive fourth-down touchdown catch by Brady Gatton.

 

Newman's extra-point attempt fell apart after the snap, however, and the Spartans swarmed the ball to prevent any two-point improvisation and made the necessary first downs to run out the clock and hold on to the one-point victory.

 

"We made them work for every point they had," Grundy Center head coach Brent Thoren said. "So many think, 'Oh, it's an extra point, no problem,' but something goes sideways and we've got four or five guys busting through the line of scrimmage as soon as that ball was snapped. Our kids did a good job of not just letting them have that play."

 

Caleb Kuiper rushed 24 times for 200 yards and two touchdowns for the Spartans, with Logan Knaack adding 15 carries for 145 yards and a touchdown behind a Grundy Center offensive line that didn't shy away from digging their heels into the rain-slicked Spartan field and pushing around a big Newman line.

 

"You just go out there and do your job," Payton McMartin said. "Take short, choppy steps and try to keep your feet. ... [The win] feels pretty good."

 

After getting the ball back with a 1-point lead, Logan Knaack converted a couple of third-downs into crucial clock-burning first downs, weaving his way through his linemen's blocks.

 

"They made plays, they know it's their last homecoming," Knaack said of McMartin and Landon Graham, two of the seniors on the offensive line, "they were really excited and they were moving people out of the way for our backs."

 

Graham added, "It's a great attack, we've got many people that can carry the ball, which spreads the defense out with excellent playcalling and we just open the holes for them."

 

Grundy Center gets back to district play with a doozy at Hudson next Friday. The Pirates are undefeated and considered to be one of the best teams in Class A state-wide.

 

"We enjoy this for 24 hours and then get back to work," McMartin said.

 

For the full story, see next week's Grundy Register. Subscribe by calling (319) 824-6958 or clicking here.