Warriors fall in close battle to No. 10 Rebels

Quarterback Taurice Grant powers through contact during Meskwaki’s season opener at Gladbrook-Reinbeck. Grant finished with a team high 245 yards rushing. Darvin Graham/News Chronicle

The 2020 football season began for the Meskwaki Warriors with a Tama County showdown with the 8 Player #10 Gladbrook-Reinbeck.

The Warriors hung with the Rebels most of the night but couldn’t hold on in the fourth quarter, ultimately taking a 50-36 loss on a hot and muggy night in Gladbrook.

Meskwaki returns a number of players from last year’s squad that captured three victories and set an upward trend after suffer a winless season two years ago.

“We showed last night that we are not the Warriors from previous years, every game is winnable this year,” Warriors Assistant Coach Britt Mitchell said. “We will be contending for the district title.”

On Friday the Warriors were led by a dynamite performance from Taurice Grant. The senior quarterback finished the game completing 18 of 26 passes for 160 yards and two touchdowns. Grant also led the rushing attack with 245 yards and two rushing touchdowns.

“Taurice Grant showed great poise under pressure moving from wide receiver to quarterback this year,” Mitchell said. “He made decisions that kept us in the game all night long.”

The Warriors came out swinging in the first half with a touchdown in the first quarter and two more trips to the end zone in the second.

Missed extra point opportunities were all that kept Meskwaki from going into halftime either tied or slightly ahead of the Rebels who also tallied three touchdowns in the first half.

After going into the halftime locker room trailing 22-20, the Warriors struggled to contain Gladbrook-Reinbeck as the Rebels and senior quarterback Keagan Giesking broke out for two unanswered touchdowns.

“Coming out at the half we didn’t change much, their offense was simple but hard to stop,” Mitchell said. “They put together long drives and wearing us down was their game plan. We knew that our offense was more than capable of scoring almost at will. We just needed a few defensive stops in order to take the lead, but were unable to get the G-R offense off the field.”

The Warriors mounted a comeback in the fourth quarter on a nine yard touchdown run by Daymon Rosenberger, a successful two point conversion pass from Grant to Tiernan Wanatee, a 15 yard touchdown pass from Grant to Evan Nelson, and a successful two point conversion run by Grant.

But each time the Warriors tacked points on the board, the Rebels responded quickly with a score of their own.

Although the outcome was not what the Warriors wanted, the silver lining was that the team turned in their best performance to date against a larger Gladbrook-Reinbeck program that only a few years ago captured multiple state titles in the 11 player format.

“Being able to play Toe To Toe with GR was great,” Mitchell said. “We knew we had a better team this year and after that battle it is clear to not just us here at Meskwaki but across the district that the Warriors are here to compete.”

The Warriors suit up on Friday for their home opener against GMG who began playing 8 Player football just this season. The Wolverines are coming in off a one point loss to Collins-Maxwell in their opener.

“Heading into GMG we have some things to clean up on the offensive end,” Mitchell said. “Installing a new offense this year has been tricky with all the COVID restrictions but our guys have worked really hard. Defensively we will keep playing our aggressive, attacking style of play that helps spark energy for our new explosive offense.”

Kickoff on Friday is set for 7 p.m.