SH football has no room for error

Panthers in similar boat as 1A?District 6 rivals prepare to battle

South Hamilton fullback Grant Evans (44) lunges forward for a few extra yards during the Hawks’ win over Manson-Northwest Webster in Jewell earlier this month. DFJ photo/Tracy Runneberg

JEWELL — Corey Klemp doesn’t shy away from the fact that his South Hamilton football team has its sights set on the playoffs.

To get there, the Hawks’ head coach knows that there’s no more room for error.

“The elephant in the room is this senior class wants to make the playoffs and for that to happen, round one happens this week,” Klemp said in the lead-up to South Hamilton’s home clash with Panorama set for Friday evening at Taylor Field. “Does it add a little pressure to it? Certainly, but hopefully we can get things channeled.”

Coming off a humbling 42-0 loss to second-ranked and Class 1A District 6 frontrunner Van Meter last week, South Hamilton (3-1, 1-1) will put its playoff dreams on the line each time it competes under the lights from now until late October.

Panorama (3-1, 1-1) is in a similar boat, but the Panthers may be taking on more water. Highly ranked when the season started, the Panthers have three blowout wins under their belts, but there’s also a head-scratching 21-7 loss to Madrid in Week 3.

South Hamilton’s Wes Wynkoop lays out as he attempts to intercept a pass against second-ranked Van Meter last Friday. The Hawks will host Panorama this week. DFJ photo/Tracy Runneberg

With a date with Van Meter still on the horizon, Panorama has its back against the wall as well. Klemp says his team will get the Panthers’ best shot.

“Panorama is one of those teams that’s a program team,” he said. “They’re always going to be solid and they’re very well coached.”

For one half a season ago, South Hamilton was able to play with and beat the Panthers. The Hawks raced out to a 17-0 lead, only to watch the Panthers score 42 unanswered points over the final 241⁄2 minutes.

The Hawks will use that as motivation. Klemp also says his players have something to prove after getting blanked by Van Meter.

“The kids are focused and really zeroed in,” he said. “One of the things we looked at from last week is we’ve just got to do what we do and worry less about what they do and what might happen.”

Panorama presents challenges with its spread offense that is dangerous on the ground and through the air. Sophomore quarterback Luke South has completed 21 of 50 passes for 241 yards, while running back Brody Rickheim has scored six touchdowns and averages 7.4 yards per carry.

“What they do presents problems,” Klemp said. “It’s spread and different formations and a variety of other things.”

South threw for 116 yards a season ago in leading the Panthers comeback win over the Hawks.

South Hamilton hopes to get its offense back on track after it was limited to just 82 total yards against Van Meter. That starts with the running game and senior Logan Klemp, who has 288 yards and four touchdowns on the season. Logan Klemp broke off a pair of long touchdown runs and churned out 126 yards against Panorama last season.

It’s not a coincidence that the Hawks’ lead vanished a season ago at the exact time that Logan Klemp was forced to the sideline because of a rib injury midway through the third quarter.

DJ Klonglan averages 10 yards per tote for the Hawks, and fullback Grant Evans (172 yards) has scored a pair of touchdowns.