FOOTBALL: Greene County advances to second round with historic blowout of Red Oak
By BRANDON HURLEY
A desire for greatness fuels Greene County.
Each win verifies their existence among the state’s elite.
Last week’s first round mismatch was no different.
Playoff victory was a breeze, though the outcome seeped with history.
Greene County captured its first-ever home playoff win as a consolidated school Oct. 16, absolutely steam-rolling Red Oak, 49-0 in Class 2A, pod 16.
Everything bounced in Greene County’s favor from the opening kick, even a string of loose balls tumbled straight into the waiting hands of Ram defenders. Greene County’s fifth-straight triumph was under wraps after the opening 15 minutes following a trio of touchdowns on their first three drives, while Red Oak failed to record a single first down.
By halftime, Greene County had built a insurmountable, 42-0 lead, thanks to an opportune offense and a suffocating defense. The Rams held the Tigers to a staggering -33 first half yards, not once allowing them to cross midfield.
Red Oak (0-8) was sent spiraling to their 20th straight loss, amassing just 56 total yards. The Rams, on the other hand, stampeded into the second round, on the heels of a historic triumph.
“The guys were ready to go right from the get go this time and we took care of business,” Greene County head coach Caden Duncan said. “Every Ram player got into the game and we saw a lot of good things.”
Greene County has captured its first playoff win and an initial home postseason victory in back-to-back seasons, extending a run of success that doesn’t seem to be coming to end any time soon. That’s exactly how Duncan likes it. He plans for more similar success in the future. Greene County is strengthening a dynasty, not rebuilding.
“It’s great to get that first home playoff win for the program,” Duncan said. “We love playing in front of our home fans. We want to get another home victory this week and make home playoff games something that happens a lot more often in the future.”
Quarterback Bryce Stalder and Jackson Morton started the onslaught early, connecting on a 23-yard touchdown in the first quarter. Morton scored his again on the ensuing drive from a hand off eight yards out. The defense got in on the Red Oak dismantling as well, as Nate Black recovered a fumbled fourth down snap in the end zone late in the second quarter. The Rams recovered four total fumbles while Morton sacked Red Oak quarterback Max DeVries twice in the first half. The Rams scored 22 points in the first quarter and poured in three more touchdowns in the second for a commanding 42-point half time advantage.
The Rams have absolutely dominated Red Oak as of late, the Tigers 164-22 in their last three meetings, holding them under 10 points two of the last three while averaging 55 points per victory.
As a team, Greene County tallied 317 total yards and six offensive touchdowns Oct. 16. The Rams ran for 181 rushing yards, led by Black’s steady effort. The junior tailback compiled 89 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries (7.4 ypc), boosting his season total to 539 yards and five touchdowns through eight games. Stalder was remarkably consistent as well, completing eight of 10 passes for 136 yards and four touchdowns, pushing his season total to 13 touchdowns and 1,060 yards against just three interceptions. The junior has now completed five consecutive games without throwing an interception. He last turned it over in Greene County’s week three loss to Atlantic. Jaxon Warnke’s two touchdown catches vaulted him up to a tie for eighth in 2A with seven this fall. Mount Vernon’s Collin Swantz is tops in the state with 14 touchdown grabs. Warnke has hauled in 22 total receptions for 432 yards, both team-bests.
Greene County’s Bradyn Smith leads the team with 51.5 total tackles after securing 2.5 tackles last week, which ranks him in a tie for the 23rd-best total in 2A. Freshman Gavin Scheuermann tallied a team-best five tackles while the Rams as a team came away with six tackles for loss.
The Rams will square off against Clarinda (4-4) in the second round of the 2A playoffs in the Pod 16 championship Friday night. Kick is set for 7 p.m. in Jefferson with the winner advancing to the round of 16. Greene County slipped past Clarinda in week six, a 22-15 victory in over time.