SHEFFIELD - The big boys up front did their jobs here Friday night.
After back-to-back losses in which it scored a combined six points, the South Hamilton football team turned to its offensive line to pave the road back into the win column, and the players responded.
Tackles Trevor Swenson and Ben Hausner, guards Garrett Garner and Jacob Haugland, and center Logan Koopman opened gaping holes that translated into 294 yards rushing and 415 of total offense in the Hawks decisive 49-23 victory over West Fork in Class 1A District 3 action.
"Our offensive line won the game and it was great to see the offense find its identity," South Hamilton head coach TJ Schaefer said. "The line really took control of the game and we were able to run and get a good five to seven yards every time we ran the ball."
Bruising fullback Sam Waid lowered his helmet and bulled his way to 79 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries, and back-up tailback Andy Cook generated 62 yards with a touchdown on 14 totes. Quarterback Matt Hislop (59 yards) and tailback Lane Heinlein (52) also picked up nice chunks of yards on the ground.
"Sam ran like a beast," Schaefer said, noting starting tailback Devin Howard missed the game. "As the fullback he doesn't have a lead blocker, so to pick up that many yards is impressive."
South Hamilton8 21 13 7-49
West Fork7 0 0 16-23
WF - Spencer Halloran 16 run (Halloran kick).
SH - Sam Waid 5 run (Justin Shepherd pass from Lucas Olson).
SH - Lane Heinlein 1 run (Jacob Haugland kick).
SH - Trevor Ullestad 11 pass from Matt Hislop (Haugland kick).
SH - Triston Twedt 25 pass from Hislop (Haugland kick).
SH - Shepherd 5 pass from Hislop (kick failed).
SH - Andy Cook 18 run (Haugland kick).
WF - Tyler Greimann 1 run (Payton Plagge pass from Halloran).
WF - Kyle Parcher 30 pass from Halloran (Plagge pass from Halloran).
SH - Ross Enderson 16 pass from Olson (Haugland kick).
Rushing - SH: Sam Waid 14-79, Andy Cook 14-62, Matt Hislop 14-59, Lane Heinlein 15-52, Triston Twedt 3-24, Garrett Evans 5-14, Lucas Olson 1-4. WF: Spencer Halloran 13-53, Logan Plagge 3-16, Collin Arndt 3-14, Nick Noumann 2-11, Tyler Greimann 3-8, Kyle Parcher 1-0.
Passing - SH: Hislop 7-10-0 105, Olson 1-1-0 16. WF: Halloran 10-25-2 108.
Receiving - SH: Twedt 3-38, Trevor Ullestad 1-11, Justin Shepherd 1-4, Ross Enderson 1-16, John Hegland 1-15, Waid 1-6. WF: Parcher 4-64, Greimann 3-19, Payton Plagge 2-18, Deven Heitland 1-7.
Tackles (leaders) - SH: Waid 5, Hunter Griffin 3.5, Cook 3.5, Jacob Haugland 3.5
South Hamilton (3-2, 1-2) fell behind 7-0 early on, but then rattled off 42 consecutive points during a long stretch that lasted until early in the fourth quarter. The Hawks' defense limited West Fork (1-4, 0-3) to just 53 yards of offense through three quarters.
"Our defense dominated," Schaefer said. "But a part of that was we had the ball (on offense) for so long because of our run game."
Waid's 5-yard touchdown run and a two-point conversion pass from Lucas Olson to Justin Shepherd midway through the first quarter gave South Hamilton the lead for good.
Heinlein scored from 1 yard out, and Hislop fired touchdown passes of 11 and 25 yards to Trevor Ullestad and Triston Twedt in the second quarter to push the cushion to 29-7 at halftime.
Hislop rifled in his third scoring pass - a 5-yard toss to Shepherd - and Cook broke off an 18-yard touchdown scamper in the third quarter.
Hislop completed 7 of 10 passes for 105 yards. Olson spent time under center in the fourth quarter and found Ross Enderson open for a 16-yard touchdown pass.
The Hawks again spread around the wealth, as six different receivers made catches. Twedt caught three balls for 38 yards to lead the group.
Waid also led the South Hamilton defense with five tackles from his linebacker position. Haugland, Cook and Hunter Griffin all finished with 3 stops.
West Fork quarterback Spencer Halloran went 10 for 25 passing for 108 yards and a touchdown. He also used his legs to find the end zone on a 16-yard sprint early in the first quarter to give his team a 7-0 lead.
"This was a definite must-win game for us to be in playoff contention," Schaefer said. "We got down early and in the past few weeks we've gotten down on ourselves, but the guys picked themselves right back up. We didn't panic, we kept our cool and we kept driving the ball."