Hawks handle Panthers, hang in playoff contention

Klemp, Klonglan combine for 285 yards rushing

South Hamilton running back Logan Klemp drags Panorama’s Brody Rickheim (20) and Gunnar Grunsted down the field on Friday. DFJ photo/Tracy Runneberg

JEWELL — The state playoffs are still weeks away, and yet each and every time the South Hamilton football team steps onto the field it feels like season is on the line.

Can that be stressful? Sure it can.

Can it also be motivating? Absolutely.

And with each win, the next game only gets bigger.

South Hamilton’s bid to reach the postseason moved another step in the right direction at Taylor Field Friday night. The Hawks ran roughshod over Class 1A District 6 rival Panorama to the tune of 350 yards in an 18-15 victory, their fourth in five outings.

South Hamilton running back DJ Klonglan (22) gets the ball across the goal line as he’s hit by Panorama’s Spencer Hunt late in the third quarter at Taylor Field in Jewell on Friday. The Hawks knocked off the Panthers, 18-15, and improved to 4-1 on the season. DFJ photo/Tracy Runneberg

Corey Klemp, South Hamilton’s head coach, conceded that it was an important win, but no more so than the team’s district-opening triumph over Manson-Northwest Webster.

“It is a big win because it’s certainly over a very quality program,” he said. “But Manson has proven to be a very quality program, Roland-Story has proven to be a very quality program … you looked at the records of some of the teams we’ve beat and I don’t know if this one is any bigger, and this game doesn’t matter if we go on to drop one down the road.”

Panorama (3-2, 1-2), which began the season ranked in the top 10, was never able to corral bruising running back Logan Klemp or his speedy backfield mate DJ Klonglan. Klemp lugged the ball 18 times for 176 yards and he also caught South Hamilton’s only completion — a 16-yard touchdown strike from quarterback Marco Balderas in the second quarter that put the Hawks in front to stay. Klonglan scampered for 109 more yards and a pair of touchdowns on 16 carries.

Throw in another 52 yards on 13 totes by fullback Grant Evans and it’s easy to see why Panorama had trouble taking control of the clock or the game.

“It’s kind of a pick your poison thing with those guys,” Coach Klemp said, noting that Tanner Volkmann, who started in the backfield early in the season before being sidelined with a shoulder injury, is close to being back at full strength. “Line wise, we still have to get off the ball better and our lead blocking with our other backs has to improve as well. But once we get all of that in line, we’ll be in real good shape.”

Logan Klemp (20), Mateo Balderas (partially hidden), Zeke Balderas (55) and Teagan Risetter (50) gang up to bring down Panorama running back Brody Rickheim on Friday. DFJ photo/Tracy Runneberg

South Hamilton (4-1, 2-1) took control from the opening kickoff. The Hawks took that first drive down the field and capped it with an 8-yard touchdown run by Klonglan to jump in front, 6-0.

Panorama briefly took the lead, 7-6, late in the first period courtesy of a 32-yard touchdown pass from Luke South to Conner Meinecke and PAT from Michael Allen.

The Hawks answered in the second quarter with the hook-up between Balderas and Klemp to give them a 12-6 lead at the intermission.

South Hamilton continued to rip off ground yards in chunks in the third quarter and eventually went up 18-7 on Klonglan’s second touchdown run, this one from two yards away.

Panorama closed to within three points early in the fourth quarter on a 13-yard touchdown pass from South to Blaine Barber. But the Hawks’ defense put the clamps on the rest of the way and never allowed the Panthers to put a serious drive together.

South Hamilton defensive back Marco Balderas (5) puts Panorama quarterback Luke South on the ground before South can get to the outside during Friday’s game at Taylor Field in Jewell. DFJ photo/Tracy Runneberg

Panorama put up 274 yards of offense, but just 68 of those came on the ground. The Hawks gambled that their defensive backs could contain the Panthers’ receivers one on one and that allowed them to gang up on the run. Panorama’s leading rusher, Brody Rickheim, was limited to just 18 yards.

“He’s a real nice back, but we were definitely there to stop the run,” Coach Klemp said of Rickheim. “(The man coverage) maybe bit us a few times, but it allowed us to be more successful in other parts.”

South, a sophomore and two-year starter under center for Panorama, completed 17 of 29 passes for 206 yards and the two scores, but he was picked off twice. Barber was South’s favorite target; he reeled in eight catches for 89 yards.

Wes Wynkoop led the Hawks defensively with 61⁄2 tackles. Klemp and Evans both finished with five tackles; Evans sacked South in the fourth quarter that eventually forced a punt when the Panthers were trying to rally, and Klemp added a tackle for loss.

Sam Lewis registered 41⁄2 tackles in the win.

South Hamilton faces another difficult test this Friday when it travels to Madrid to take on the Tigers (3-2, 3-0) at 7 p.m. Madrid also owns a victory over Panorama and currently sits tied with second-ranked Van Meter atop the district.

And don’t think the Hawks have forgotten the 69-0 beating they took at the hands of Madrid last year. Still, the present is a lot more important than the past.

“The reality of what’s on the line, that picture gets a little clearer each week,” Coach Klemp said. “I think we’re more prepared every week that we go along.”

South Hamilton 18, Panorama 15

Friday at Jewell

Panorama 7 0 0 8 — 15

South Hamilton 6 6 6 0 — 18

First Quarter

SH — DJ Klonglan 8 run (run failed).

PAN — Conner Meinecke 32 pass from Luke South (Michael Allen kick).

Second Quarter

SH — Logan Klemp 16 pass from Marco Balderas (pass failed).

Third Quarter

SH — Klonglan 2 run (pass failed).

Fourth Quarter

PAN — Blaine Barber 13 pass from South (Trey Cobb pass from South).

Individual Statistics

Rushing — PAN: Luke South 10-34, Brody Rickheim 7-18, Blaine Barber 2-10, Gunnar Grunsted 2-6, Michael Allen 1-2, Trey Cobb 1-(-2). SH: Logan Klemp 18-176, DJ Klonglan 16-109, Grant Evans 13-52, Marco Balderas 4-10, Tanner Volkmann 3-3

Passing — PAN: South 17-29-2 206. SH: Mar. Balderas 1-3-1 16.

Receiving — PAN: Barber 8-89, Conner Meinecke 4-58, Tanner Godfrey 3-33, Grunsted 1-16, Spencer Hunt 1-10. SH: Klemp 1-16.

Tackles — SH: Wes Wynkoop 61⁄2, Evans 5, Klemp 5, Sam Lewis 41⁄2, Mar. Balderas 31⁄2, Mateo Balderas 31⁄2, Klonglan 21⁄2, Zeke Balderas 2, Volkmann 11⁄2, Teagan Risetter 11⁄2, Jared Ullestad 1, Cole Berg 1, Trevor Thompson 1.