Hat trick by Kickbush lifts Rebels past Denver

REINBECK – Cam Kickbush believes a lack of communication is to blame for the Rebels’ slow starts this season.

The junior midfielder made sure the absence of one of their top players wouldn’t determine their fate Tuesday.

Filling in at center striker after Chase Clark left with a knee injury in the 24th minute, Kickbush scored three second-half goals and assisted on two more to push the Class 1A No. 8 Gladbrook-Reinbeck boys’ soccer team past Denver, 6-1.

The teams were knotted at 1-all at halftime before Kickbush ignited his squad in the 49th minute with a shot from just inside the penalty area to the far post. The score sparked a three-goal surge in an 8-minute span as the Cyclones never recovered.

“We just had to communicate more, I think the first half we were dead,” Kickbush said. “All season our first halves have been dead. It’s tough to fill a spot like Chase with his aggression, we just decided to play for him and talked a little bit more.”

Clark started limping and went down to the ground less than 4 minutes after a sliding collision with Cyclones keeper Braeden Weston. The senior was helped off the field and never returned with the game still scoreless with 17:36 to play in the first half.

Weston initially came out of the game briefly with a knee injury of his own after the collision but didn’t come back in the second half.

And with the northwest crosswind now moving in their favor, Kickbush and the Rebels (5-0) pounced. Kickbush headed a corner kick from Erik Knaack over Denver’s Josh Hotz before Marco Barron tapped it in to extend the lead to 3-1 in the 52nd. Barron headed in another corner off the foot of Wyatt Swanson 5 minutes later.

Kickbush finished off his hat trick with a right-footed blast from outside the penalty box in the 66th before slipping in one more on Dinsdale’s corner kick with 1:26 remaining. The Rebels made the most of the strong crosswind that allowed crosses to float in the air as Denver (2-9) used three goalkeepers in the match.

“The wind was a big factor tonight,” G-R coach Kirk Dinsdale said. “We had other kids step up and I think we just wore them down a bit. (Camden) just stepped up and did a good job. We didn’t make a lot of changes at halftime.”

Dinsdale said Clark was immediately taken away to get his left knee looked at and is unsure of the striker’s status moving forward.

“He hurt a knee and that’s going to be a big loss for us,” Dinsdale said. “I don’t know how serious it’s going to be, it doesn’t sound good. We’ll just have to see and have some other kids step up. He’s a big part of our team.”

Dustin Dinsdale briefly put the Rebels in front with a strike into the left netting from just outside the penalty area in the 27th. Ernest Espinoza provided the equalizer 8 minutes later with a rocket from the right side that sailed into the upper left netting.

After attempting just one more shot (8-7) than the Cyclones in the first 40 minutes, the Rebels fired off 17 in the second half, including eight on goal, along with five corner kicks. Denver didn’t get a shot on goal after halftime and finished with three in the game, while G-R had 11.

“The first half they were going with the wind so it was a little bit tougher for us,” Kickbush said. “Once we could get it going our way, our crosses were able to get there. We just got a foot on the ball and hoped for the best.”


The Rebels travel to the Waverly-Shell Rock Tournament Saturday hosted by the Class 2A No. 3 Go-Hawks. G-R opens against Webster City, which received votes in the latest 2A poll. … G-R defeated the Cyclones, 3-1, in Denver on April 25. Denver’s lone victories came against Class 1A No. 8 Waterloo Columbus and Cedar Valley Christian.