The Southland Rebels football team, winners of three in a row played host on Homecoming Friday night to Grand Meadow, winners of four in a row in the first District 9 Southeast 9-man football matchup between the two schools in Adams, and it was the visiting Superlarks taking control of the game in the first half, aided by two Rebel turnovers that they turned into 15 points on their way to a 35-0 win.
Southland was on offense first in the game and drove from their 45 to the Grand Meadow 38, but the drive fizzled and the Superlarks took over on the turnover on downs, but were forced into a three-and-out by the Rebels, giving Southland the ball back at their 22. The Rebels again started to move the ball down the field and into Grand Meadow territory, but the Superlarks defense bent but did not break as they forced another turnover on downs at their 28. Here, Grand Meadow’s offense began to click as the Superlarks moved into Rebel territory, and a short outlet pass from senior quarterback Taylor Glynn to senior running back Dusty Copley turned into a 23-yard gain that put the ball at the Rebel 8-yard line. On the eighth play of the drive, Glynn found running room through the right side of the line and strolled into the end zone for a 6-0 Grand Meadow lead after the extra point was blocked.
Things went from bad to worse for Southland as on the first play of the ensuing drive, senior fullback Christian Luthe fumbled at the Rebel 33-yard line, and the Superlarks recovered at the 35. On the third play of the drive, Glynn found junior tight end Isaac Harmening on a 33-yard touchdown pass and a 14-0 lead after the 2-point conversion run by Copley.
Southland took over on their own 32-yard line on their next drive, and on the third play, quarterback Harrison Hannah let fly with a long pass down the left sideline that was batted away from senior running back Brendan Kennedy and intercepted by Glynn, who dashed back the other way 31 yards to the Rebel 29-yard line. Seven plays later, Copley took the ball in from the 2-yard line to give Grand Meadow a 21-0 lead after Glynn’s extra point.
A nice kick return by Brendan Kennedy on the ensuing kickoff gave Southland great field position on their 47, but Grand Meadow’s defense again stood firm and forced a punt after four plays, giving the ball back to their offense at the Superlark 17. On the first play, Glynn found sophomore tight end Corbin Ludemann with a back shoulder throw down the left sideline for 33-yard gain out to midfield. The Larks then grounded out yardage and ate up the clock late in the second quarter and were faced with 3rd at 5 at the Southland 9-yard line when Glynn went back to pass, was forced to dodge defenders in the pocket, rolled to his right and found junior wide receiver Jace Kraft in the deep right corner of the end zone for a crushing touchdown and a 28-0 Grand Meadow lead with only :08 left in the half.
The Superlarks received the second half kickoff and, starting from their own 17 put together a long, 6:23 touchdown drive of 10 plays that ended on another short outlet pass from Glynn to Copley that turned into a 47-yard touchdown and a 35-0 Grand Meadow lead after Glynn’s extra point.
Southland took over on their own 40 on the ensuing drive but were forced into a three-and-out, giving the Larks the ball back at their own 37. Grand Meadow was on the move again on their next drive, but the Rebel defense forced a Copley fumble, and they recovered at the Southland 20. Hannah and sophomore wide receiver Samuel Boe connected for a 41-yard gain on the drive to the Grand Meadow 15, but the Larks’ defense again stepped to the fore to preserve the shutout as Hannah was pressured into a quick pass over the middle that was off target and intercepted by Glynn at the Superlark 10. Backup then came in for both teams for the rest of the game, and neither team was able to dent the scoreboard any further for the 35-0 final.
The shutout was the second for Grand Meadow this season, and with the win, the Superlarks are now 5-1 on the season, and they will be home versus Lyle/Pacelli next Friday night. Southland had their three-game winning streak snapped with the loss, and the Rebels will look to rebound at Sleepy Eye next Friday versus Sleepy Eye/St. Mary’s.