Rebels can't hang with New London in playoff opener

Gladbrook-Reinbeck quarterback Jackson Kiburis (8) lobs a pass over the outstretched arms of New London's Keontae Luckett (23) during last Friday night's 8-man playoff game in Gladbrook. The Tigers defeated the Rebels 60-12. (Robert Maharry/The Grundy Register photo) 

On the strength of stellar performance from star running backs Keontae Luckett and Jordan Johnson, New London rattled off 53 unanswered points and defeated Gladbrook-Reinbeck 60-12 in an eight man playoff opener in Gladbrook on Friday night, denying the Rebels a shot at their fourth trip to the UNI Dome in five years.


“We did everything we could. It’s just that they’re a better football team than us, and there’s not a whole lot we can do about that,” G-R head coach John Olson said. “But our kids played extremely hard, and it was a lot of fun coaching them.”


Luckett finished with 217 total yards and four touchdowns, while Johnson wrapped up the contest with 213 yards and three scores. Despite the ultimate outcome, however, the Rebels (7-3), making their ninth straight state playoff appearance dating back to 2010, looked sharp early on as a 33-yard pass from Jackson Kiburis to tight end Cale Hasselman set up a two-yard touchdown run for senior Colton Clark. After a failed two-point conversion, G-R led 6-0.


The Tigers (9-1) quickly struck back with a punishing rushing attack, and Luckett capped it off with a two-yard dive that put his squad ahead 7-6. Clark, who finished with a team-high 119 yards on the ground, carried G-R again on its next drive with a crucial third-down conversion and a run down to the two-yard line that set him up for his second touchdown. Another failed conversion made it 12-7.


Unfortunately for the Rebels, they wouldn’t score again. 


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