Big-game feel: Redhawks hold off Spartans in district clash

Jake Ryder

TRAER – With fans bundled up in the stands, their breaths condensing in the chilly air as they yelled their support for Grundy Center and North Tama on Friday night, a late September game felt more like a first-round playoff game.
The Spartans and Redhawks made some big-time plays on the field, too, but it was North Tama that made the right plays in the right moments, defending their home turf with a 34-26 victory over Grundy Center.
Grundy Center, North Tama and Wapsie Valley now all have one loss in Class A District 7, with undefeated Hudson alone at the top for the time being after winning a non-district game against Saint Ansgar on Friday. Hudson has yet to play Grundy Center or Wapsie Valley.
"I think their big plays, our inability to stop them throwing the ball over our heads, was a lot of the difference in the second half," Grundy Center head coach Brent Thoren said. "We'd have them 3rd-and-long and let them off the hook way too many times. But their kids made a lot of really good plays."
At the start of the game, it was the Spartans making the big plays, with Logan Knaack running down the North Tama sideline for a 75-yard touchdown on the first play from scrimmage for an early 7-0 lead. North Tama quickly responded with the first of three touchdowns by Tyler Morrison, though the extra-point attempt was no good.
The Spartans drove down the field again on the next possession, getting all the way to North Tama's 3-yard line before the Redhawks beat back GC, holding them to a Cale Hendricks field goal and a 10-6 Grundy Center lead with 7:21 left in the first quarter.
From there, both teams had their first drives end in punts, with North Tama taking over at their own 36-yard line with 1:57 left in the first quarter. The Redhawks unleashed a tricky halfback pass move for 54 yards, setting up Morrison's second touchdown of the night and pushing North Tama ahead 13-10 with 1:27 left in the first quarter.
"We haven't shown a lot of trick type plays this season," North Tama coach Tom McDermott said. "That pass was a big play for us and we've gotta have those big plays in these types of games."
The Spartans kept coming, and wouldn't be denied right before the end of the first quarter, where Logan Knaack lifted a 23-yard pass to Will Grames, who fell down in the end zone as he came down with the catch, and a Hendricks extra point pushed Grundy Center ahead 17-13 at the end of the first quarter.
"We knew how good [Logan Knaack] was coming into tonight," McDermott said, "and he was as good as we thought he'd be. … We really had to emphasize what we had to do as far as run assignments [in the second half]."
For the full story, see this week's Grundy Register. Subscribe by calling (319) 824-6958 or clicking here. 
Order prints from Grundy Center vs. North Tama FB on SmugMug

The Grundy Register

601 G. Avenue - P.O. Box 245
Grundy Center, IA 50638
Telephone: 1-319-824-6958
Fax: 1-800-340-0805

Mid-America Publishing

This newspaper is part of the Mid-America Publishing Family. Please visit for more information.