Grundy Center Returning To State Title Game
Grundy Center didn't let a sluggish start derail its train ride back to the championship game.
The Spartans overcame a few early miscues and throttled Council Bluffs St. Albert in the Class A semifinals Friday afternoon at the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls. Grundy Center rolled up 429 yards of offense -- and limited the Falcons to 115 -- in a decisive 34-6 victory.
With the win, top-ranked Grundy Center (11-0) advanced to the title game for the second consecutive year. The Spartans will play for the championship at 2 PM Thursday against No. 2 Iowa City Regina, which rolled to a 49-28 victory in a Friday morning semifinal game.
A year ago, Grundy Center made a surprise run through the playoffs. The Spartans battled West Hancock of Britt for the championship, but fell to the Eagles, 21-17, in the title game.
Grundy Center has been on a mission to claim the top prize this year. Experience helped the Spartans Friday afternoon.
Grundy Center missed a fourth-down conversion and fumbled on its first two possessions, while the Falcons started their first three offensive drives in Grundy Center territory. Despite the field position, St. Albert scored only three points on a 45-yard field goal by Sam Wilber with six-minutes, 59-seconds left in the first quarter.
Dexter Whitehill helped the Spartans survive their early mistakes. Grundy Center's junior cornerback intercepted a pair of passes and recovered a muffed kick, leading a solid defensive effort that sparked the Spartans' offense.
Immediately after falling behind 3-0, Grundy Center put together a three-play, 89-yard drive that ended with a 25-yard Logan Knaack touchdown run and Colin Gordon kick. Knaack found the end zone again on a one-yard run late in the first quarter, putting the Spartans ahead 14-3.
Knaack, Grundy Center's junior dual-threat quarterback, finished the day with 200 yards rushing and three touchdowns on 17 carries. Zach Opheim led the Spartans' running attack with 223 yards on 23 carries.
Knaack scored his third touchdown on a one-yard run in early in the third quarter, then Opheim followed with touchdown runs of 45- and 63-yards. Wilber kicked his second field goal of the day -- a 35-yarder -- late in the third quarter.