Spartans hold back high-scoring Wildcats, 41-7

Grundy Center's Austin Betts and Tate Jirovsky take down Columbus Community's Riley Kaalberg during Friday's game in Grundy Center. (Ryan Timmerman/Muscatine Journal photo)
Jake Ryder
The Grundy Register

GRUNDY CENTER - The highest-scoring offense and lowest-scoring defense in Class A met on Friday night.

When the powers collided, the high-octane Columbus Community offense was held back by Grundy Center's staunch defense, with the Spartans putting up some good points to boot in a 41-7 win and knock Columbus Community out of the playoffs with a final record of 8-2.

Grundy Center (10-0) will host one more home game this season against East Buchanan (9-1), at 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 4 at Spartan Stadium.

The Spartans came into Friday's game averaging only 4.8 points per game allowed, while Columbus Community made the trek north with their offense averaging 52.4 points per game.

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Something had to give - it just wasn't going to be the Spartan defense, even in the face of dynamic playmakers from Columbus, Triston Miller and Kaden Amigon.

"The kids did an awesome job of observing the scouting report, executing fundamentals and were just outstanding defensively," Grundy Center head coach Travis Zajac said. "[Miller] and [Amigon] break long runs and there's not anybody on the field that can catch them. We wanted to get helmets to the football, make them earn drives, earn scores.

"Columbus runs a lot of things that are similar to what we've seen all season, but the point of emphasis in the backfield was we weren't going to let those two beat us."

The Wildcats got on the board on a 9-yard touchdown pass from Jeff Hoback to Riley Kaalberg with less than four minutes left in the second, but it came after Grundy Center had already gone up 27-0.

Colin Gordon ran in one score, threw another to Ben Wegmann, and Justin Knaack added two of his four total touchdowns tonight in the first half for a 27-7 halftime advantage, 20-0 after the first quarter.

"We were diligent about keeping the ball away from them as much as possible," Zajac said. "Justin did a great job of running through contact and Clay Saak did the same, Colin Gordon had some timely runs, but it was really the kids up front that handled the line of scrimmage."

Knaack finished with 19 carries for 94 yards and four scores. Saak rushed nine times for 63 yards and Colin Gordon had 10 runs for 88 yards. Gordon also completed 11-of-16 passes for 174 yards and a touchdown.

Defensively, Patrick Brown III made eight total tackles, including seven solo. Saak also recovered a fumble.

"I think Columbus was a very big, physical team," Zajac said. "But we were able to be the more physical football team."




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