Grundy Center football runs through Huskies

Jake Ryder
The Grundy Register

NASHUA – Grundy Center football put together one of their best performances running the ball this season in a 35-8 victory at Nashua-Plainfield on Friday.

The Spartans are 6-0 and take on BCLUW for Grundy’s senior night on Friday in Spartan Stadium.

“We were able to run the ball with a lot of success, moreso than we have all season,” Grundy Center head coach Travis Zajac said. “We broke off some long runs, and were able to sustain some drives by running the football.”

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Zajac credited the offensive line in synchronicity with the backs running the ball with making the improvements necessary to put the Spartans at another level on Friday. Justin Knaack finished with 16 carries for 145 yards and four scores.

“Justin Knaack did a great job of seeing it tonight,” Zajac added.

For the Spartans, like many Class A schools, running the ball is the bread and butter. And while Grundy Center has not been overly pass-happy this season, the Spartans have been trending more toward the pass compared to teams in the past three years.

“It’s a big part of how we want to play,” Zajac said. “We want to possess the ball longer, take possessions from the opponent and while we like playing defense, it takes more energy to play defense, and we don’t want our kids out there playing a lot of defense.”

In the passing game, Colin Gordon completed 9 of 13 passes for 117 yards and one touchdown, a five-yard snag by Clay Saak.

The Spartans led 21-0 at halftime and had the continuous clock going before the end of the third quarter. A rushing touchdown from the Huskies’ Titus Evans in the fourth quarter with the game already decided ended a back-to-back string of shutouts for the Spartans, but it’s the fifth time in six tries this season that the Spartan defense has held a team to eight points or less.

“Our coaches had a good scout and we were able to take away what they wanted to do,” Zajac said. “We continue to play sound against teams running the ball.”

Nashua-Plainfield did a lot of that on Friday night, and when they had to throw the Spartans were ready, with Tanner Laube, Clay Saak and Ben Wegmann each picking off one of the Huskies’ eight pass attempts on Friday.

“When they decided that they were going to throw, our pass rush made it hard on them and had their QB flustered,” Zajac said.

Trent Cakerice topped the tackle charts with seven total stops, Brody Zinkula had six collars, including a sack. Ryker Thoren added a sack and two total tackles for loss.

No matter where it is on the field or in the playbook, the common theme for the Spartans is measurable improvement week-to-week.

“These kids know we have lofty goals in our program and they have that desire to want to get better every week,” Zajac said. “We were able to play some pretty good football tonight, and we’re looking for that mentality throughout the rest of the schedule and that all starts next week against BCLUW.”

GC 35, N-P 8

Rushing–Justin Knaack 16-145, 4 TD; Clay Saak 4-19; Brody Zinkula 4-11; Colin Gordon 7-10; Judd Jirovsky 1-0; Pete Lebo 1-(-3).

Passing–Gordon 9-13-0, 117 yards, TD; Jirovsky 0-2-0, 0 yards.

Receiving–Ben Wegmann 1-29; Knaack 1-24; Tate Jirovsky 2-22; Zinkula 1-14; Tanner Laube 2-14; Tiernan Vokes 1-10; Saak 1-4, TD.

Tackles (solo-total)–Trent Cakerice 4-7; Brody Zinkula 4-6; Ben Wegmann 4-4.5; Ryker Thoren 2-3.5; Keon VanHorn 2-3.5; Stuart Whitehill 1-3; Tate Jirovsky 2-2.5; Tiernan Vokes 2-2.5; Patrick Brown III 0-2.5; Klayton Freed 2-2; Dylan Knaack 1-1.5; Justin Knaack 1-1.5; Clay Saak 0-1.5; Isaiah Burt 0-1.5; Cooper Hoy 1-1.5; Judd Jirovsky 1-1; Tanner Laube 1-1; Ryder Ross 0-1; Harry Brekunitch 1-1; Pete Lebo 0-0.5. TFL–Thoren 2, Zinkula, Wegmann, VanHorn, J. Knaack 1; Saak 0.5.


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