Brady Kline and most of his Gilbert football teammates are wearing close-cropped haircuts for the playoffs.
If this is “no shave November,” the Tigers have shunned it. But the team’s getting used to turning around things.
Gilbert (8-3) stunned No. 7-ranked North Polk 36-6 Monday in a Class 2-A second-round playoff. The victory came a little more than six weeks after North Polk won 27-20 on its own field.
Jared Gescheidler rushed for one touchdown and passed for another while piling up 333 yards of offense.
Kline celebrated while sporting a Mohawk style cut. Teammate Wyatt Rhoads had a star shaved into his scalp.
“Last year, we got them when we made the playoffs, so we figured, why not again,” Kline said.
Gescheidler rushed for 172 yards and passed for another 161, without a haircut resembling his teammates.
“He’s got to get one for the next game,” Kline said, pointing at Gescheidler’s untrimmed locks.
Gilbert will play at No. 1-ranked Carroll Kuemper (11-0) on Friday in a quarterfinal. The razors will likely be running again for a team that is playing inspired.
“It’s just an attitude, a belief,” Gilbert coach Scott Auderer said. “”We’re on a roll, and this is the time of year to peak.”
The Gilbert defense held North Polk (9-2) to a season-low scoring output.
Gilbert scored on a game-opening drive, with Zach Becker rushing for a 4-yard touchdown with 6:22 left in the first quarter.
North Polk quickly responded. The Comets drove the field in five plas. Garrett Moeckly ran for an 8-yard touchdown with 4:51 to go.
Then the Gilbert defense shut down North Polk for the rest of the game. The Tigers intercepted two passes and held North Polk’s Cole Jackson to 10-of-30 passing for 113 yards.
“He was getting rid of the ball faster,” Kline said. “Our defensive line puts a lot of pressure on the quarterback.”
Gilbert led 12-6 at halftime. Gescheidler ran for a 20-yard score and hit Dax Hatfield for a 58-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter.
“We knew we had to run and throw the ball,” Gescheidler said. “We kind of picked them apart.”
James Howell kicked two field goals for Gilbert.
North Polk’s Moeckly led his team with 49 yards rushing.
North Polk 6,0,0,0 — 6
Gilbert 7,5,14,10 — 36
G–Becker 4 run (Howell kick)
N–Moeckley 8 run (kick blocked)
G–FG Howell 29
G–Safety, North Polk snapped ball out of end zone
G–Gescheidler 20 run (Howell kick)
G–Hatfield 58 pass from Gescheidler (Howell kick)
G–FG Howell 41
G–Culek 30 run (Howell kick)
Rushing–North Polk: Moeckly 12-49, Cox 5-18; Gilbert: Gescheidler 22-172, Becker 13-56, Culek 4-43.
Passing–North Polk: Jackson 10-30-2-113; Gilbert: Gescheidler 9-16-0-161.
Receiving–North Polk: Brauer 3-49, Schuessler 3-31, Schiltz 1-15; Gilbert: Rhoads 4-68, Hatfield 3-33.