GRUNDY CENTER - The Grundy Center football team looked primed and raring to go in its final tuneup before the first postseason game played by the program in 17 years.
With second place in Class A District 3 already locked up, the Spartans delivered an early punch and never looked back, defeating GMG, 42-7, Friday on Senior Night.
Grundy Center (6-3, 4-1) jumped on the Wolverines (0-10, 0-5) early and took advantage of seven GMG turnovers and an early lead to head into Wednesday's first round matchup against Don Bosco with plenty of good vibes.
T-R PHOTO BY TRAVIS HINES
Grundy Center’s Bryce Moats eyes the goal-line while GMG’s Brock Fisher comes up to make the tackle in the Spartans’ 42-7 victory Friday on Senior Night in Grundy Center.
The Spartans, who last made the postseason field in 1994, came out quick, scoring twice before the first quarter was 6 minutes old and added another early in the second quarter to take a 20-0 lead in a game that had no bearing on their postseason fate.
"I thought we had a nice week of practice coming in. It seemed like they were ready to go," said Grundy Center head coach Brandon Krusey. "It was definitely a different feeling because everybody knew that no matter what, it didn't affect our place.
"We just kept stressing that it's important for us to keep building and keep getting better and keep our momentum going."
CLASS A PLAYOFFS
Northwood-Kensett at Gehlen Catholic
Akron-Westfield at Bishop Garrigan
West Sioux at West Hancock
North Iowa at Woodbury Central
Corning at Madrid
Earlham at AHST
Martensdale-St. Marys at Exira-EHK
Bedford at Van Meter
Central Elkader at Newman Catholic
North Butler at North Tama
Rockford at Postville
Don Bosco at Grundy Center
Belle Plaine at LIsbon
WACO at Lynnville-Sully
Danville at BGM
Iowa Valley at Lone Tree
GMG, playing without eight starters due to injury, threw three interceptions and lost four fumbles on the night.
"Just some bad mental mistakes," said GMG head coach Kyl Gillespie. "Grundy Center did a great job of capitalizing on some errors and the ball just didn't swing our way."
The Spartans spanned 61 yards in just over 3 minutes on their opening drive and went up 6-0 on Bryce Moats' 33 yard touchdown run on fourth-and-five.
GMG went three-and-out on its first possession, and Grundy Center responded with a 60-yard possession that lasted just over a minute, finishing on Cody Cole's 21 yard scoring jaunt.
Cole finished with 99 yards on the night.
The Wolverines defense found its footing, however, getting a turnover on downs and a punt in the Spartans' next two possessions, but the punt was muffed and recovered by Grundy's Nathan Schmadeke.
One play later, Joel Rust tossed a 17-yard scoring strike to Schmadeke.
A 46-yard wide receiver pass from Grayson Fraser to Blane Anderson set up GMG's only score of the night, a Brandon Lolwing 15-yard pass to Fraser, but on the ensuing kickoff Schmadeke picked up the ball after the squib kick deflected off two of his teammates and returned it 79 yards to paydirt.
"It was rolling around and I just picked it up," summed Schmadeke, who caught four passes for 76 yards and also had an interception on defense.
"It was set up nice."
Connor Noteboom added the game's final score on his 1-yard plunge and 2-point conversion rush in the third quarter to initiate the running clock and allow the backups to take over.
"Otherwise we never would have done that," said Krusey of bypassing the PAT. "We could get up by 35, get the clock rolling and feel free to get our young kids in there and get them some reps."
Rust finished with 130 yards passing while Noteboom added 56 on the ground for the Spartans, who host the Dons at 7 p.m. next week.
Anderson led the way with 53 yards rushing and added 46 receiving for the Wolverines, who finished the season winless for the second consecutive year.
GMG has lost 25 straight contests, but was consistently more competitive this season, falling in single-possession games three times this season.
No other time during their losing streak had the Wolverines managed to play so closely with their opponents.
"We feel like there were four games that we could have, should have won," said Gillespie, whose program has strong numbers coming up in both the high school and middle school ranks. "The kids played really well, we just couldn't get over that hump."
Mason City Newman Catholic finished District 3 play undefeated to earn first place while North Butler was third and Rockford fourth to earn playoff berths.