Garrigan faces defending champs

Messenger photo by Britt Kudla Gibson Behr of Bishop Garrigan makes a catch against St. Albert during a Class A semifinal game last Friday inside UNI Dome.

CEDAR FALLS — It all comes down to this for the Bishop Garrigan football team.

Through grueling two-a-day practices in the heat, nine regular season games and three more postseason contests, the Golden Bears find themselves one win away from hoisting the Class A state title.

Bishop Garrigan (12-0 overall) meets defending state champion Gladbrook-Reinbeck here on Thursday afternoon inside the UNI-Dome at 1:36 p.m.

Last week, the Golden Bears topped Council Bluffs St. Albert in the semifinals, 26-20. In the first semifinal that day, the Rebels (12-0) ousted top-ranked Saint Ansgar, 24-14.

Senior Gibson Behr paced Garrigan with 126 yards rushing and a pair of scores, while sophomore quarterback Brad Capesius was 6 of 8 passing for 98 yards, including three completions to Behr for 52.

Grant Arndorfer added 68 yards in his most extensive action at fullback all year.

The Golden Bear defense held up well against the Falcons, allowing only quarterback Luke Waters to do any damage. Grant Buscherfeld had 8.5 tackles, while Drake Buscherfeld had 5.5 and sacks.

Chase Winkel recovered and fumble and had eight tackles.

Behr has rushed for 1,444 yards and scored 20 touchdowns, while Capesius has 958 yards passing. Joel Vaske is the leading receiver with 591 yards and seven scores.

Gladbrook-Reinbeck relied on quarterback Hunter Lott to advance to its third finals, as the junior completed 10 of 18 for 193 yards. He also had 32 yards rushing and two touchdowns. They have won 22 consecutive games dating back to a 2014 title game loss.

Erik Knaack caught four passes for 71 yards, while Parker Bown rushed for a team-high 62 and a score.

On defense, the Rebels forced three turnovers and are allowing just six points per game.

Lott has thrown for 1,631 yards with a 17-to-4 touchdown-to-interception ratio on the year and is completing 63 percent of his passes.  Knaack has 456 yards receiving and Gage Murty 422, while Bown has 809 yards rushing to lead the team.

Gladbrook-Reinbeck is attempting to become the first Class A school to win back-to-back titles since Southern Cal (now South Central Calhoun) did it in 2008 and ’09.

Thursday’s other finals feature Don Bosco (11-1) vs. Harris-Lake Park at 10:06 a.m. for the 8-player title, while Webster City (11-1) meets Pella (12-0) at 7:06 p.m. in 3A. On Friday, Iowa City Regina (11-1) seeks its seventh consecutive crown against Hull Western Christian (11-1) at 11:06 a.m., with Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley (11-1) and Union LaPorte City (11-1) meeting for 2A gold at 2:06 p.m.

In the final game of the night, West Des Moines Dowling (11-1) seeks a fourth straight 4A title against Iowa City West (10-2).