REINBECK - The Class 1A state football playoff bracket will include Gladbrook-Reinbeck when the postseason starts Wednesday night.
This season marks the first back-to-back playoff appearances for the Rebels since 2004-05.
Something that Gladbrook-Reinbeck would like to share with those 2004 and 2005 squads is an eight-win regular season. The Rebels (7-1, 5-1) go into tonight's matchup with Woodward Academy (3-5, 1-5) in Gladbrook needing a victory to tie the school record for regular season wins.
Woodward Academy has lost four in a row, while the Rebels have won four straight. The scores from District 4 last Friday caught
G-R's attention and the home team will not be overlooking the Knights. Woodward Academy's lone district win came against BCLUW. BCLUW nearly upset district leader and No. 3-ranked Woodward-Granger before losing, 11-9.
"I don't think last week was our best week of defense and now we can get back to the basics," said G-R head coach John Olson. "Go back to our reads and our techniques and that will help us on defense for the playoffs in that standpoint.
"Offensively they are going to blitz a lot, bring a lot of pressure. That's something we've struggled against too. It's going to be a game that definitely is going to tune us up for the playoffs, but at the same time we can't take them lightly."
Quarterback Parker Bolt has 1,329 passing yards and 12 touchdowns for Gladbrook-Reinbeck. Colby Luethje (352 yards) and Chase Clark (351 yards) are the team's leading rushers, while Cobren Bird has 30 receptions for 415 yards for an offense that is No. 28 in 1A in scoring (27.5 points per game).
Brady Billerbeck leads the Rebels on the defensive side of the ball with 100 total tackles to go with six fumble recoveries. Bolt has nine of the team's 15 interceptions. G-R is 14th in 1A in scoring defense at 13 ppg.
The Rebels' lone loss came in Week 4 to Woodward-Granger and the team came back really focused afterward, Olson said. Another big factor this season has been in the team's preparation with the school's laptop initiative allowing the team to do more with watching game film.
"I think the knowledge of our players has just gone up tremendously because of it," Olson said.
The 2005 Rebels went 8-1 in the regular season and were a quarterfinalist in the playoffs, while G-R in 2004 rode an eight-win regular season to a state championship game appearance.
"We've never been 9-0 here, but we've been 8-1 a couple times," Olson said. "Getting to 8-1 is a good carrot dangling out there for the kids."