Hawks use last season as motivation in preparing for Madrid

SH could end Tigers’ postseason streak

South Hamilton’s Jeremiah Smith (75), Jared Ullestad (21) and Teagan Risetter (50) gang up to tackle Roland-Story’s Tyler Risdal (11) during a Week 2 win. The Hawks will face another strong running team in Madrid on Friday. DFJ photo/Tracy Runneberg

JEWELL — It wasn’t pretty and it sure as heck wasn’t fun, but it was motivating.

And now South Hamilton has the chance to return the favor.

With last year’s 69-0 whipping, on homecoming no less, at the hands of Madrid still on their minds, the Hawks prepare for this Friday’s return meeting with the Tigers feeling like they have something to prove. Throw in the playoff implications and head coach Corey Klemp says there’s a lot to play for.

“It’s going to be a big week for us and it’s fresh on our minds what happened on homecoming last year,” he said. “It hasn’t been forgotten, that’s for sure. The kids have talked about it.”

Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday night in Madrid.

As several key South Hamilton players, including all-state linebacker Logan Klemp, watched in street clothes last year because of injury, Madrid piled up 550 yards rushing and 622 in all en route to the 69-point rout. Running back Michael Santi averaged 35.7 yards per carry and rumbled for 250 yards and four touchdowns.

But Santi is no longer in the Madrid backfield, nor are many of the contributors off last year’s team. Still, Klemp says the Tigers (2-3, 2-1 Class 1A District 6) won’t be a pushover.

“It’s 100 percent still Madrid,” he said. “Until we prove otherwise to ourselves, we’re still looking at them as the same Madrid of old. They’re a storied program and one to be respected. It’s not the same personnel that they’ve had in the past, but it’s still the system.”

Since 1990, a span of 27 seasons, Madrid has missed the playoffs just once and that came in 2006. But the Tigers’ streak of 10 consecutive appearances is nearing life support following a loss to Ogden last week. Another loss to South Hamilton (4-1, 2-1) would further shrink their chances.

The Hawks are in search of their first trip to the postseason since 2013. With their only loss coming to second-ranked and district favorite Van Meter, they control their own destiny coming down the stretch. But Klemp says the team can’t afford even one slip up.

“We’re truly looking at each week as it’s own thing,” he said. “We know this game is of huge importance, but it isn’t any more important than Week 8 or Week 9.”

Both teams rely on the ground game out of wishbone sets. They’ve combined for just 265 yards through the air.

The similar offensive schemes could and probably should play to the benefit of both defenses.

“This week is a little bit simplified because it’s what we know,” Klemp said. “It’s not a ton of different looks, but they’ve always been a program that says this is what we’re going to do, good luck trying to stop us.”

Both offenses have plenty of backfield weapons at their disposal. Madrid has four backs with at least 30 carries and 250 yards. Travis Schieltz leads the way with 661 yards and eight touchdowns.

South Hamilton is comfortable handing the ball off to any four of its runners — Logan Klemp (464 yards, four TD’s), DJ Klonglan (349 yards, four TD’s), Grant Evans (224 yards, two TD’s) and Tanner Volkmann (150 yards, four TD’s).